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New ‘home to hospital’ transport service on the way for elderly living in south Armagh

Council asked to approve £10,000 and seek expressions of interest to provide new service to help elderly get to their appointments

Hospital Parking

A ‘home to hospital’ transport service is expected to be introduced to help the elderly in rural parts of south Armagh.

Newry, Mourne and Down District Council is expected to approve £10,000 expenditure to get it up and running.

Its active and healthy communities committee will consider the matter at its meeting on Monday.

As well as being asked to approve the money to introduce this transport lifeline, councillors will also be asked to give the go-ahead to seek expressions of interest from suitable community or voluntary sector organisations to administer the scheme.

A report to committee explains how – and why – the issue has been in demand for some considerable time.

It states: “There is acknowledged to be a major difficult in persons from the more rural areas accessing hospital appointments in Craigavon, Belfast and beyond.

“This causes particular problems for our increasingly older population.

“The council has facilitated a volunteer driver home to hospital scheme for the last number of years within the Mournes area, in partnership with the Public Health Agency.

“This has proved to be successful from the point of view of the local people who receive the help with the transport and from those volunteers who provide the transport.

“We wish to set up an identical scheme to meet the needs of the population in south Armagh and will continue to seek partners to assist us in this regard.”

Councillors have been told that the rural nature of the area makes it “impracticable to access medical appointments using public transport”.

The system, it says, will also save money by reducing the numbers who fail to show up for appointments.

The committee will be asked to approve the £10,000 required to introduce the ‘home to hospital’ scheme in south Armagh.

The money would allow the service to run up until the end of March 2020.



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