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Community Eyecare launches new Home to Hospital transport service

It is hoped the updated service can help to reduce strain on NHS services and provide “more personal” care for patients

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Community Eyecare (CHEC) has launched its new Home to Hospital patient transportation service, offering transport to and from eye care appointments and surgery.

The re-launch follows the opening of several new sites for the community-based ophthalmology service provider, including in Nottingham and Coventry. 
 
The update expands CHEC’s patient transport service with investment in a fleet of mini-buses and local drivers.

Transportation to appointments can be a “significant issue” for patients, and add further delays to existing waiting times, the provider suggested, which can then increase the difficulty of performing surgery.

Waiting times in England for NHS cataract surgery increased by 84% between 2019 and 2021, reaching an average of nine months for those who received surgery this year.

CHEC suggested that by offering transportation to patients accessing its centres, the NHS partner provider can “play a key role in reducing the strain on NHS services,” increase capacity and provide a “more personal programme of care closer to home.”

Logistics officer for CHEC, Jack Bower, said: “Giving back to the community is something very important to us all at Community Eyecare, so if our transportation service can help even one patient to ultimately have better eyesight sooner, it is worth the significant investment we have made.”

The Home to Hospital drivers are DBS-checked and have undertaken training to develop the knowledge and experience required to support patients’ needs both before and following their appointments.

The vehicles are cleaned between each trip, CHEC confirmed, and drivers continue to follow COVID-19 safety regulations, including sanitising touchpoints between each patient journey and opening and closing doors. Drivers will continue to wear medical-grade face masks and alcohol gel is available for patient and driver use.

One of the organisation’s longest-serving drivers, Mohammed, commented on the service: “Having the capability to help provide a service to our patients from their home, through our doors at Community Eyecare for their surgery, to then return them into the safety of their home, gives us as employees enormous satisfaction.”