Going the Extra Mile!

A friendly face, a welcoming smile and a door to door service – it’s all in a day’s work for our Hospital Transport Team.

When you’re diagnosed with a life-limiting illness, getting to hospital appointments for vital treatment should be the least of your worries.

But for many people living in rural communities like ours, the distance from home to hospital can be a barrier to getting to these appointments, causing anxiety at an already worrying time.  And that’s why our Hospital Transport Service is such a lifeline to so many.

Fiona Hutchinson, our Head of Care Services at Tynedale Hospice at Home, explains:  “When you’re facing treatment for a life-limiting illness you want to do everything you can to maximize your chances of recovery but not everyone has the benefit of their own transport or someone who can support them getting to hospital. The worry and stress can be overwhelming.”

Our Hospital Transport Service is quite unique. Led by a team of 30 volunteers, they provide a door to door service – and it’s completely free.

Our volunteer drivers will greet you with a smile, pick you up from your home in their own car, ensure you get your appointments in good time, and bring you home when you’re finished.  Our drivers also provide a listening ear for patients who want to talk.

Fiona continues: “Northumberland is a stunning part of the country to live in, but it’s not without its challenges when it comes to getting out and about.  When you consider the large rural area we cover, it’s quite a service.

“We’ve had amazing feedback from people who’ve benefitted from the service.  People tell us that they like the personal service we offer, the anonymity of being picked up in someone’s own car and being greeted by a friendly and welcoming face.  These may be small things but they can make such a difference when someone is facing a difficult visit to hospital.  Families and carers are grateful for the reassurance that their loved one is getting the support they need if they are unable to take them because they live some distance away or have other commitments.”

Our service is a lifeline to many – but don’t take our word for it…

“Our patients speak very highly of all the drivers and the service. They feel that without the support they receive would be unable to cope with so many visits to hospital and would actually be unable to complete long weeks of radiotherapy without the on-going support.’’ Macmillan Nurse

“As I am nearing the end of my treatment, would just like to express my heartfelt thanks to you and your wonderful volunteer drivers who have made this anxious time stress free.”  A patient