Health shuttle proves huge success

NICCI MCDOUGALL
Last updated 05:00 11/08/2014
health shuttle
ROBYN EDIE / Fairfax NZ
HEY, HOLD THE DOOR: St John Health shuttle drivers Richard McMillan and Warren Keen get ready to transport patients from Invercargill to Dunedin.

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Twelve months on, a southern health shuttle service is clocking up the miles.

The Invercargill to Dunedin health shuttle was launched by St John a year ago and has already covered about 100,000 kilometres.

The shuttle service transports patients between Invercargill and Dunedin Hospital for essential medical and health-related appointments. The trip is done nearly every day.

St John South Island community care manager Pam Hall said the service had so far been a tremendous success. Passenger numbers had doubled from 26 last August to 54 last month.

The 11-seater van had transported 608 clients and 130 support people in its first 12 months, and the number of people using it showed how much of a need existed, she said.

Many southern patients had appointments at Dunedin Hospital but had difficulty getting there for several reasons, including finances, inability to drive or being too unwell to drive.

Shuttle services were run throughout the country and last year Four Square funded an additional five, including the Invercargill to Dunedin service.

The service was free but a donation of $40 was usually suggested where possible.

Two first-aid trained volunteers travelled on the van and shared the driving, she said.

People could book by contacting St John on 0800 785 646 or at a local St John office. 

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