NHS Media Release

September 2017


21 September 2017

Bedale community minibus helps elderly and isolated patients attend GP appointments

The Bedale Community Minibus (BCM) which provides transport to and from local GP appointments helped elderly and isolation patients attend over 60 appointments since November 2016 and hopes to continue.

The BCM is a registered charity set up to provide transport to residents in Bedale and the surrounding area to include those with special needs, the elderly and the disabled. It also supports youth groups, special needs children and village schools and is fully equipped to accommodate adults and children with all kinds of mobility problems.

At the request of the local GP Federation, Heartbeat Alliance, a pilot study was undertaken to look at patient transport in the area. The BCM Trustees were keen to take part and soon found that 76% of patients used their own car or arranged for friends to help them get to and from their appointments at Glebe House Surgery. Many of the patients were found to be aged 71 and over with some mobility restrictions. It was agreed to operate a trial scheme for three months operating one day a week.

Martin Baggaley, Glebe House Surgery Practice Manager said: “The minibus was introduced to provide door-to-door transport for patients who need to get to and from appointments at our practice in Bedale.

“During the initial trial, patients were collected from home on a Tuesday and taken to Glebe House Surgery then returned home after their appointment. After the trial, both the surgery and the passengers requested that the scheme continue. It’s now operated 8.30am to 5pm every Tuesday by volunteers and a modest charge of £5 per return journey is requested from each patient to cover costs to the BCM –although people accompanying patients are not charged.

“As a practice, we try to book potential passengers in for appointments on a Tuesday so they can use the bus. We also waive the cost of necessary medicals to volunteer drivers over 70 years of age to help support the charity.

“It’s been a really fantastic service for our patients so far and we’d like to thank the Trustees and the volunteers for their time and dedication.”

Between November 2016 and May 2017, patients made 51 appointments and the minibus travelled 850 miles.

“I’ve been driving the bus on a voluntary basis for over two years after my neighbour, Malcolm, who is also a Trustee, introduced me to the bus service. I wanted to do something useful with my time. I usually drive at least once or twice a month but more recently due to a shortage in volunteers, it’s been more regular. But I really enjoy it and you can see how valued it is by patients and local residents.” said local volunteer bus driver, Jennifer Lancaster (69).

Elaine Holland (77), local resident and bus passenger said: “My husband, George (82) is a regular user of the bus and I come to support him. What’s really helpful is I don’t get charged as an extra passenger. Before the bus, we used to pay for taxis to the surgery which could be up to £20 every three weeks.

“We’re really grateful for the bus and it’s really important to us. We just hope more people are made aware of it so they can use it and help keep it on the road.”

Dr Charles Parker, Clinical Chair of NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group said: “This is an excellent example of a community working together. All parties benefit from the agreement and these residents of Bedale have improved access to healthcare.”

Malcolm Bloor (77), BCM Trustee said: “Since the initial trial and after securing 12 months of funding from The Rector and Four and Twenty of Bedale, another local community charity, the service now continues. In fact, on the weekend of the 29 August team of local cyclists completed a coast to coast cycle ride and the BCM transported both riders and their equipment. The event itself raised £3,000 for a teenage cancer charity.”

The service continues but the charity would like to encourage more people to make use of the bus. They are also looking for volunteer drivers.

Malcolm continues: “We’re proud that our bus is helping so many patients but we would like to help more local residents, particularly the elderly and isolated. If you’re interested in using the service or if you are keen to support as a volunteer driver, please get in touch.”

Bedale Community Minibus can be contacted by calling 01677 425329 9.30am – 12noon Monday to Friday or by emailing bedalecommunityminibus@btconnect.com

For further information contact HRW CCG Communications and Engagement on 01609 767621


New end of life care service for Hambleton and Richmondshire

As of 3 April 2017 a new service will launch thanks to a partnership between NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group (the CCG), Herriot Hospice Homecare, St Teresa’s Hospice, terminal illness charity, Marie Curie, and South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

End of life care across Hambleton and Richmondshire was previously provided under a service called ‘Fast Track’. The purpose of Fast Track Continuing Healthcare Funding was to pay for local private care agencies to provide care at home.

Under this new scheme, patients will receive day time care at home, overnight care, additional equipment at home and supported admission into end of life care in a step-up/step down bed. These beds were introduced as a result of the ‘Transforming our Communities’ consultation.

Gill Collinson, Chief Nurse of the CCG said:

“Safe and dignified end of life care is of ever-increasing importance for our population. Under the previous scheme, patients who wanted to die at home or close to home were not always able to do so.

“This is why we’ve been working very closely with our partners to develop a brand new end of life service for the Hambleton and Richmondshire area. It can be a difficult subject for patients and families to come to terms with, but it’s so important to get right.

“We hope this new service will result in reduced hospital admissions, improved delays in discharge from hospital in the last days of life and more support for families.”

Christine Ward, Nurse Consultant for Adult Palliative Care from South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “We hope this new service will streamline access to care making it easier for our community nursing teams to access appropriate and timely support to meet their patients’ needs, which will ultimately enable more patients to die at home.

“Eligible patients are those who are assessed to be in the last few weeks of life, or whose condition is rapidly deteriorating. They must be under the care of a GP in Hambleton and Richmondshire.”

Chief Executive of Herriot Hospice Homecare, Tony Collins, said: “As a local hospice care charity in Hambleton and Richmondshire, Herriot Hospice Homecare is committed to exploring collaborative approaches to care to ensure people local get the right support, at the right time, in the right setting.

“This new partnership aims to deliver a service which is more responsive to the needs of our community, with Herriot recommencing the high-quality, personalised end of life care we are so well recognised for locally.”

Jane Bradshaw, Chief Executive of St Teresa’s Hospice said: “St Teresa’s Hospice is delighted to be part of this important collaboration which will directly improve patient care with a quick response. Community hospices in partnership will provide care to help people to stay in their own homes and therefore avoid unnecessary hospital admissions. It is so important to listen to and respond to needs, and I am sure that the development of this partnership will be a shining example of what can be achieved when organisations cooperate to improve outcomes for our patients.”

Audrey Rowe, Regional Nursing Service Manager for Marie Curie, said: “This new service provides a single point of access to a range of local services for people living with a terminal illness. We are proud to be a part of the team providing Marie Curie Nurses to care for people overnight, so that their loved ones can spend quality time with them and get some much needed rest. This service is a great example of agencies working together to co-ordinate local care with local need.”

Patients can be referred to the new service from 3 April 2017 by calling the End of Life Coordinator Monday to Friday 9am – 4.30pm on 01609 767521 (or 07733 014385 for out of hours). Staff will need to note some patient information before making the referral.


For further information please contact HRW CCG Communications and Engagement on 01609 767621.