Lack of on-call drivers in Budleigh means people are missing GP appointments

PUBLISHED: 17:00 19 October 2019

Closeup dashboard of mileage car.

Closeup dashboard of mileage car.

GSUDIO (GSUDIO (Photographer) - [None]

People across Budleigh Salterton are missing vital medical appointments due to of a severe lack of voluntary car drivers.

Transport charity TRIP, which runs Budleigh Voluntary Car Service, has eleven drivers helping out, but most can only do limited times and days.

Neil Hurlock, office manager for the charity, said: "We desperately need more drivers.

"We are turning away several people a week because we have not got drivers.

"We had a case where we had no drivers available one day - this happened two weeks on the trot."

The car service was created to provide transport by car for disabled people or frail elderly people who struggle to use public transport - either because there is no transport available or because they cannot walk to a bus stop or easily climb on and off a bus.

As well as covering Budleigh, the service extends to residents living in Colaton Raleigh, East Budleigh, Otterton, Woodbury, Woodbury Salterton and Yettington.

Mr Hurlock said a lack of on-call drivers could have serious implications to those relying on the service to get to appointments.

He said: "It means some of our users will not be able to attend medical appointments. If we do not get more drivers, then people are unfortunately going to be continuing to miss appointments.

"That is going to have a knock-on effect on their health because they will not be getting to their appointments at Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

"We want to make sure these people are attending their appointments."

The voluntary car scheme sees people utilise their own vehicles to help people visit hospitals and go shopping.

Anyone can become a voluntary driver and full training is provided by TRIP.

The charity also offers the opportunity for those interested to attend a ride-along to see if they are suited for the role.

The charity offers 45p a mile in fuel expenses.

For more information, drop into the TRIP offices in New Street, Honiton, or call 01404 46529.

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