Islanders Happy With New Medical Travel Process

hospital  nhs sign 2Islanders are generally happy with the recently introduced process for arranging medical travel to the mainland.

That’s the finding of Scilly’s Healthwatch organisation, following their survey of 66 patients who have dealt with the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust Booking office.

Many respondents found the RCHT staff accommodating and friendly but some islanders feel that there should be a greater understanding of how difficult and stressful travelling to Cornwall for medical treatment or assessment can be.

One off-islander described their return trip, which took over nine hours to complete ten separate legs of the trip.

The majority of locals questioned were able to arrange transport for their first offered appointment, although just under half had not completed their mainland appointment journey in a day trip.

Around half of those respondents would have preferred to have travelled there and back in one day but it wasn’t possible because of flight schedules or appointment times.

Most people found the booking procedure easy but still, one third of locals said they found it “a bit complicated” or difficult.

Around half of respondents requested an escort. In most cases a doctor or healthworker had approved the extra ticket for someone to travel in support of the patient but some people had found the process “obstructive”, very frustrating or even unfair.

Some islanders still prefer the original booking system, which allowed patients to talk to St Mary’s hospital staff “face to face” about travel plans rather than using the phone or email to contact Truro.

Healthwatch Manager Carol Clarke is pleased that the level of satisfaction with the service has increased in the last two years, but she says Healthwatch will continue to offer feedback views to the Patient Transport Office.

The manager of the unit has commented on how islanders appear to value the NHS and are careful not to escalate additional costs for the health service.