Ipswich: Hospital bosses take u-turn on plans to cut free transport for dialysis patients

A SUFFOLK MP has welcomed a decision by hospital bosses to reverse plans to withdraw free transport to and from the trust for dialysis patients.

Ipswich Hospital have admitted they needed to be “much more compassionate” towards patients who faced losing trips to and from Heath Road.

After reviewing national guidelines earlier this year the hospital identified around 60 dialysis patients who had been receiving trust paid-for taxis or ambulances but were not eligible for the financial help.

But in a drastic reversal of that decision the hospital’s executive team reviewed the proposals after hearing the impact cutting transport could have on those affected.

Catherine Morgan, associate director of nursing said: “All guidelines are open to interpretation and we concluded that we needed to take a much more compassionate view especially as patients receiving dialysis may often have a range of health or mobility problems.

“In this current financial climate we have to make the very best use of the money we have and we have changed the way we use taxis for patients to get the best value for money whilst still providing this service for patients.”

She added that throughout the review the hospital continued to pay for transport.

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“I know from talking to patients and relatives, there was a great deal of concern raised by the prospect of transport not being available,” added Ms Morgan. “We are of course very sorry for this concern and recognise that we could have communicated much better with patients and their relatives. We have learnt valuable lessons for the future from this.

Dr Dan Poulter said he is “delighted” management will continue to fund the transport.

“This move will be welcomed by my constituents, some of whom strongly raised their concerns with me after initially being told they were no longer eligible to receive hospital paid for transport,” he said.

“Patients receiving dialysis treatment can often have multiple medical problems, and I am pleased interim chief executive Nigel Beverley has now listened to their concerns and decided to restore free transport for the most vulnerable patients.”

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