Council transport set to take discharged hospital patients home

Council could take on role of transporting discharged patients from Dr Gray’s.

PATIENT TRANSPORTATION FROM Dr Gray’s Hospital in Elgin could be taken on by Moray Council if councillors agree to proposals from NHS Grampian this week.

A report placed before the policy and resources committee tomorrow has offered a solution to the provision of patient transfer facilities from the hospital in the wake of a previous contractor going out of business.

Patients have been transported home in local taxis – but under a new proposal the job could be taken on by the Council’s transport department, who would take on four new part-time staff members and either hire or purchase a suitable vehicle for the purpose.

At a cost of around £73,000, the full cost of the service would be met by NHS Grampian who are responsible for provision of escorted patient discharge transportation from the Elgin hospital to addresses throughout Moray and some in Aberdeenshire also served by Dr Gray’s.

In a report to the committee officials highlight how the service would be run by Moray Council for an eight-hour period each day, five days a week. It suggests that staff would be trained for the task, with the report saying: “Moray Council PTU staff carrying out the service will be trained to the agreed and accepted level as prescribed in the SLA.

“NHS Grampian have agreed to provide staff involved with the specialist training required through its own online AT training modules to ensure consistency in approach and standards. NHS Grampian will also provide sterile solutions for cleaning vehicle surfaces. There will be no cost to Council for this.

“On approval from Committee, the Public Transport Unit will lease a suitable vehicle to allow easy transfer of all patients, including bariatric wheelchair patients. PTU will also prepare suitable job descriptions for the two part-time drivers and two part-time escorts who will operate a split shift to support continuous service provisions as agreed in the SLA.”

Under the plan council staff will be trained on how to correctly clean the vehicle, some basic first-aid skills and handling patients who suffer from dementia. If successful it is thought that the arrangement could become a template for greater cooperation between the Council and NHS Grampian, for example in transporting diabetic patients to the hospital.