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Painful Journeys

We did it!

Your campaigning prompted a national review into patient transport services, and the NHS has now taken many of our crucial recommendations on board. Thank you for making it happen.

Thousands of you told us that you or a loved one really struggle with travelling to your hospital appointments.

For most of us just having a hospital appointment is enough to worry about, but imagine having to make a long and complicated journey alone, in pain and feeling anxious about not getting there in time.

This isn’t good enough, but it doesn’t have to be like this.

Your campaigning pushed this issue to the forefront and forced the NHS to look into the painful journeys that older people are having to make to and from hospital.

Our system for getting older people to hospital isn't fit-for-purpose...

  • Transporting older people to and from hospital costs the NHS and the Government millions of pounds a year
  • Yet who gets help and how good that help is seems to be a postcode lottery
  • Currently, many older people are experiencing anxiety, exhaustion and distress getting to their hospital appointments
  • Every older person deserves to get to their hospital appointments safely without it being a struggle

...the changes being put forward by the NHS will go a long way towards ensuring older people can travel to hospital with the care and support they need.

Read more about the findings of the review from NHS England

Thanks to you, the NHS is going to improve the eligibility criteria for patient transport and make sure people don’t have to wait for hours to get to and from their appointments. They’ve also promised to simplify the travel costs scheme.

Peter's Painful Journey

We hear from thousands of older people who struggle with travelling to hospital, such as Peter, 79, who had to spend £720 in 18 months on taxis because there's not a direct bus.

Read our report on the Healthwatch website

Our joint report with Healthwatch looks in-depth at what people tell us about their experiences of travelling to and from NHS services.

Want to know more?

Our campaign and policy reports explore the issue and explain why getting to hospital appointments is a major issue for older people.

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Last updated: Feb 22 2023

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