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Information on Volunteer Transport Schemes

Dirleton Good Neighbours

NEED HELP WITH GETTING TO DOCTOR AND HOSPITAL APPOINTMENTS?

OR DO YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO MIGHT BENEFIT FROM THIS HELP?
Information on local volunteer car schemes for these and other trips.
Dirleton Good Neighbours has compiled this information with the kind help of the voluntary organisations listed and the North Berwick Coastal Area Partnership.
Volunteer Drivers are always required to run these services, so if you are not requiring these services yourself, please do consider offering your time as a volunteer, or giving a much needed donation to help with the provision of the services. Even the offer of one trip a month would be appreciated.
If you do not have your own car, or are unable to currently use your own car, it can be difficult and expensive to get to these appointments. There are organisations, mostly run by volunteers, who may be able to help you. You may not be aware of these services, which are not centrally co-ordinated, and so the information here attempts to provide a helpful list. Please note that all the voluntary organisations ask for as much notice as possible in order to arrange transport, although they will try to help in an emergency, but are dependent on the availability of their own volunteers. Bookings should be organised by phone. It is also important to realise that many volunteer drivers are themselves retired and cannot provide any physical help, so you need to be sufficiently mobile to get in and out of the car, or a wheelchair yourself and to walk from the car to your appointment. We have also tried to give information on the actual cost. If you find it difficult to afford these services, there are benefits for which you may be eligible for help. Your GP centre or hospital should be able to advise. Or there are specialist charities. For example, if you have a series of appointments for cancer treatment, contact East Lothian Council Macmillan Welfare Rights Service on 0131 653 230.

Scottish Ambulance Service
This service is only available for healthcare appointments for patients whose medical or mobility needs prevent them from travelling independently and who require the assistance of ambulance staff during the journey. You can request this transport up to 28 days in advance of your appointment. There is a direct booking phone line: 0300 123 1236. You will be asked a few questions to check that you are eligible for this service. It is important to cancel a booking if not longer required, which is done by phoning 0800 389 1333.
Further details can be found on the Scottish Ambulance Service website: www.scottishambulance.com/WhatWeDo/pts.aspx
For emergencies always call 999.
If you are unwell and cannot wait until your GP surgery is open, you can also contact NHS 24 for advice by ringing 111
Your GP is able to access the NHS Lothian Flow Centre, which deals with directing patients to the appropriate hospital and optimising transport arrangements, including return home at the end of hospital stays.

North Berwick Volunteer Car Scheme
This service is run by volunteers, and as a Dirleton resident you are eligible as living in the North Berwick Area. It is not limited to older residents but is based on medical or other relevant need. It is a door-to-door service available for residents who find it difficult to travel to essential services (e.g. to doctor, dentist, bank or shops) and also covers journeys to local hospitals (Roodlands, Dunbar etc). Unfortunately it cannot provide transport to hospitals outside our area e.g. Edinburgh. To make a booking, phone between 9 and 12 Monday to Friday giving as much notice as possible. The suggested donation for a trip within the North Berwick area is £6 and to Haddington/Dunbar is £12. This donation is made at the time of the journey into an envelope provided.
Contact details for NBVCS:
The NB Car Scheme contact is Colleen Praill.
Phone: 01620 894 942.
Website: www.nbvcs.org.uk

Royal Voluntary Service (RVS)
This service is also very dependent on volunteers and is run locally from the Haddington based office. It can provide transport to and from medical and hospital appointments, as well as other necessary or life-enriching outings. It can be a one-off journey or a regular booking. Volunteers, who are registered and PVG checked, use their own cars. It is important that the person using any of these services is able to get in and out of a car with only very limited help, or if using a wheelchair, can transfer themselves to the chair.
FREE Transport to GP Appointments: If you are registered with an East Lothian GP and are over 50 and have limited mobility, your GP practice can arrange with the RVS for free transport to your GP or nurse appointments at your local surgery. Please ask the receptionist to arrange your transport when you book your appointment. The RVS will then contact you to confirm the booking.
Community Transport: RVS volunteer drivers also provide transport to other destinations including hospitals in Edinburgh or further afield. You need to be over 65 and resident in East Lothian. There is a charge for this service based on the distance involved, calculated as follows: £4 for the first 3 miles, and then 60p per additional mile plus the cost of any related parking fees or toll charges. Please ask for an estimate on booking. You will be invoiced for your journey/s the month following and can pay by cheque, postal order or cash delivered into the Haddington office.
Contact details for the RVS in East Lothian are:
Phone: 01875 811 011
Haddington Office: 37 Sidegate, Haddington, East Lothian EH41 4BU
Email: eastlothian@royalvoluntaryservice.or.uk Website: www.royalvoluntaryservice.org.uk

British Red Cross
This transport service is also very dependent on volunteers. It is based in the Borders and covers a large area and is only available for medical appointments. At least a week’s notice is required to book a journey, but with a small number of volunteer drivers, availability may be limited. There are no age criteria for the service, but you must be able to get in and out of a car (or wheelchair) unaided. The minimum charge is £5 for a return journey up to ten miles. Beyond this the cost is 55p a mile, and you will be given an approximate idea of the cost when booking. If your appointment is likely to be short, the driver will usually wait, but for longer appointments the driver may go away but leave a contact phone number with staff for when your appointment is complete. You will normally pay the driver into an envelope at the time of the appointment. But if you have a number of appointments you may be billed monthly by invoice.
Contact details for the Red Cross are:
Phone: 01896 751 888 9am to 1pm Monday to Friday.
Website: www.redcross.org.uk

Taxicard Scheme
This is a subsidised scheme run by East Lothian Council for people with severe and permanent disability who don't have regular access to private motorised transport. It is not available to people who can manage public transport with some physical assistance from a helper. In order to apply for this service, an application form needs to be filled in to obtain a discount card. Local taxi firms who apply this discount will be notified to the card holder. when the card is issued. The maximum saving is £3 per trip and up to 104 trips a year are eligible. Further details and a form can be obtained from the ELC:
Phone Transport Services: 01620 827 700
email: transportation@eastlothian.gov.uk
Address: Transport Services, East Lothian Council, John Muir House, Haddington EH41 3HA Open Mon - Thurs 9-5, Friday 9-4.


The above information was compiled in February 2018 with the kind help of the organisations listed.

Dirleton Good Neighbours is a Constituted Community Group promoting and organising Community Connections.
Contact Details: Anne Orr, Coordinator
01620 850 813 web.dirletonvillage@gmail.com