The Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland (MACS) has recently been focusing on identifying the barriers disabled people face when planning, booking, identifying what’s available and using transport to get to medical appointments and healthcare facilities.
To better understand the current barriers and respond to disabled people’s concerns, MACS has established an internal working sub-group for the purpose of evidence gathering and mapping out the current situation across the country.
MACS also asked Disability Equality Scotland to run weekly polls (in November 2018 and August 2019) asking members whether they experienced any problems with booking or using transport to health services. Based on the responses, Disability Equality Scotland produced a report summarising people’s experiences. This August 2019 Disability Equality Scotland weekly poll attracted 849 responses, overwhelmingly above the normal response rate to their weekly polls.
98 per cent of respondents confirmed they had encountered problems with either booking or getting transport to healthcare facilities. This poll captured many emotive case studies describing the impact of not being able to book or access transport to attend medical and social care appointments.
MACS shared its findings with a variety of stakeholders (from policy makers, Health Boards, Regional Transport Partnerships, Local Authorities, the Scottish Ambulance Service and the Community Transport Association through to Access Panels and taxi drivers) at the meeting held in November 2019 in Glasgow.
The event focussed on open-discussion style, run by a facilitator, which will help the group to identify and talk through the biggest issues and, through constructive discussions, help to come to some conclusions on proposed solutions.
Findings from this event formed a base for the advice MACS provided for the Scottish Ministers in January 2020, in terms of making recommendations that would tackle the current problems.
A theme running through the discussions being, that to make progress it is vital that we see determined, joined up working, commitments and actions to improve the experience for disabled people and older people.
Read the Transport to Health report.