Our position is desperate, says bus scheme boss

Patients requiring medical treatment may be forced to miss important appointments if drivers do not respond to a community transport group’s urgent plea for help.

Go START, which runs in the Sudbury area, says demand for its services is outstripping supply after NHS Suffolk stopped providing free hospital transport to many patients in an effort to cut costs.

John Phillips, the operator’s founder, said the move had left people unable to get to hospital and GP appointments.

“We try never to turn anyone away but with all our other commitments within the community we are struggling to meet the demand,” he said.

Mr Phillips said the only way to solve the problem was to take on more volunteer drivers.

“We are not able to cope with the increasing demand for hospital transport services and on far too many occasions we have had to deal with patients stressed and in tears worrying about how they will get to hospital for their appointments,” he said.

“We desperately need a number of new volunteer drivers to ensure we can maintain the current services we provide and to cope with the extra demand for health appointment-related transport.

“Even if there are people who can just spare one or two hours a week, it would be very helpful.”

Anyone who would like to find out more about becoming a voluntary driver for Go START should call 01787 242116.