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Background Info

The following is the Executive Summary of the report produced following the survey of over 1000 older people in Dumfries and Galloway.

For older people, travel to and from hospital or clinic appointments is often difficult, time consuming and stressful.

• It is almost impossible to attend these appointments using public transport outside the main centres in Dumfries and Galloway.
• Older people are forced to rely on their own transport or the goodwill of others.
• Journeys arranged by NHS patient transport are often stressful, at inconvenient times or arranged in an inflexible manner.
• It can take a whole day to attend a half hour appointment.
• More than a third of appointments before 10am involve more than one hour's travel.
• Families and carers are often excluded from travel arranged by NHS patient transport. Escorts were excluded from over a fifth of such journeys.
• Anecdotal evidence exists of gaps in organisation and coordination of NHS patient transport.

There are many and diverse approaches to this problem, including the Scottish Ambulance Service Patient Transport Service and local community transport schemes. Our research indicates that this provision is currently uncoordinated, inefficient and not effective. There is also lack of sustainability for voluntary group activities due to uncertain future funding.

Transport is vital for the wellbeing of older people.

• Over a third of our sample are unable to do their own shopping
• Two thirds of those that can do their own shopping live more than a mile from shops and nearly 10% live more than 10 miles from shops.
• Over 40% of older people have difficulty in getting out and nearly half of these find it almost impossible to get out.
• A quarter of older people don't get out every month.

Extrapolating these figures across the whole of Dumfries and Galloway, where there are approximately 45,000 people over the age of 60, implies:

• 15,000 older people are unable to do their own shopping,
• 3,000 older people live more than 10 miles from shops,
• 18,000 older people have difficulty getting out and,
• More than 10,000 older people get out less frequently than once per month.

We are aware of the recommendations of the Audit Scotland report on Transport for Health and Social Care. We understand that there is no direct focus in the report on transport provision in remote and rural areas and its effect on older peoples’ health and wellbeing. The report was tabled at Dumfries & Galloway Community Health Partnership (CHP) meeting of 9th September 2011. The CHP noted the contents of the report, and we are unaware of any further action being taken.

Information on our project can be found at:

A copy of our Summary Report January 2012 can be downloaded from this link, and the report is attached as an appendix to this petition.
Other reports which may be of interest include:

• Rural Transport Solutions in Northern Periphery–


• SCVO A Life Worth Living–


• Ageing Well in the Scottish Borders, Scottish Borders Council,
October 2009–


• Transforming older people’s services in the Scottish Borders.
Scottish Borders, June 2009–


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