A county councillor has called on the Health Services Executive to reinstate the patient transport service, removed while budgetary reviews take place, as its absence has caused considerable distress to dialysis patients.
Fine Gael councillor Eileen Mannion said this week that the decision by the HSE to withdraw the transport service has meant that dialysis patients, many of whom live in isolated rural areas in Connemara, now had to make their own way from their homes to the unit in Galway, sometimes several times each week. She said that the situation is causing huge distress to patients who relied on the patient transport service to make it to regular dialysis appointments.
The patient transport service, which has had funding reduced, is currently under review as the budgetary cost of such a service is being transferred from the ambulance service to the hospital service. Cllr Mannion described the current situation as “unfair on those who need the service” the most, and urged the HSE to reinstate it immediately.
“The decision by the HSE to withdraw the patient transport service while they review the service shows little regard for the patients who rely on the service and who now find themselves in a position of trying to arrange transport to take them to and from the hospital.
Cllr Mannion concluded: “Some patients have to attend dialysis clinic two or three times a week and the withdrawal of the transport service is placing undue stress and financial pressures on patients. Public transport is not an option for many of the people who have to attend for dialysis.”