Travel Warrant System ‘Doing Fine’

St Mary's Hospital

St Mary’s Hospital

The new travel warrant system for patients travelling to mainland appointments is “doing fine,” according to hospital facilities manager, Judy Rowe.

But members at the recent Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee where frustrated by a lack of communication between Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust’s travel office and Newquay airport following the recent redirecting of flights from Land’s End.

Cllr Amanda Martin asked Judy several times if the travel office could ring Newquay airport staff to advise them if a patient being discharged had mobility issues.

Amanda said a recent meeting with the airport management had shown that they were keen to help in such situations but needed to be warned before the patient arrived.

However, Ms Rowe told members that the responsibility was on Skybus to warn the airport, not the hospital.

Amanda asked how Skybus would know if the patient being discharged had mobility issues.

But Judy insisted that the hospital didn’t want to, “put another step in place that wasn’t necessary” and added she “didn’t want to start treading on Skybus’ toes.”

However, she eventually agreed to take the matter up with Skybus management.

In her report to members, Judy said in the eight months since June last year, the RCHT Patient Transport office had taken 1291 travel bookings.

Of these, 168 bookings had been cancelled although not all due to bad weather. Cllr Richard McCarthy described this as “frustratingly high” and asked Judy if she could keep the log going, to see how this develops over the next year.

LINk4Scilly representative, Jane Hurd, said many people with appointments at West Cornwall hospital in Penzance had been affected by flights being diverted to Newquay. But she said the feedback was that clinics have been very helpful in rescheduling these quickly.

Judy said in the reporting period, there had been only one official complaint. That was about contingencies in place for an islander who couldn’t return home due to adverse weather.