Posted: 22.06.21 at 15:09 by Philip Evans
“What would we do without Axminster Care Service drivers?” This is typical of the grateful comments made by the 100 or so patients each month that receive help to get to medical appointments in Axminster and also further away, for example to Sidmouth or Exeter.
Many patients have no transport of their own; or if they do, driving themselves to an appointment is not recommended for medical reasons and public transport is not often practical or convenient.
Increasingly, a series of appointments to treat a medical problem is necessary and this can be an expensive commitment by busses or trains or even where friends or family help out with car transport.
Axminster Care Service (ACS) does not charge a fixed rate for the journeys provided but asks for a donation based on what patients and their families can afford.
The donations have generally been generous and recently have covered around half the cost of the service.
The remaining costs are covered by the income generated by the service's Charity Togs shop in South Street, Axminster.
Following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, demand from patients for transport has been increasing.
This has been due to clinics, operating theatres, and other procedures, being gradually stepped up to address the backlog of appointments caused by lockdown’s over the past 12 months or more.
Furthermore, the average age of patients has risen so that more people need medical treatment.
More drivers are therefore needed by the popular car service to enable it to cope with current and expected demand.
Although transport is provided only for patients living in the area covered by Axminster Medical Practice, drivers do not need to live in the Axminster area.
ACS drivers use their own car and their essential expenses are reimbursed at a fixed mileage rate. They can volunteer for as many or as little hours or days as they wish or choose short or long journeys if they don’t wish to do both.
Axminster Care Service is looking for people with a good driving record, who are sociable and able to lightly assist patients. If you are interested in becoming a voluntary driver and would like more information email [email protected]
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