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This section contains media releases released a little while ago. Please note that due to the long time when some of these were released images have been removed and some links might no longer work.

February 3, 2014

West Coast DHB continues to invest in improving Buller residents' access to health care

The West Coast District Health Board is committed to helping Buller people access health care through supporting the New Zealand Red Cross’ free transport service for residents travelling to Grey Base Hospital.

The free transport service is a Buller-lead community initiative for patients and their support people. It is a volunteer service with around 13 volunteer drivers.

Carol Keoghan, President of the Buller branch of New Zealand Red Cross, says she is thrilled to be able to provide this free service for the community, which has been tailored to their needs after consultation with them.

“People using our community transport van are usually given hospital appointments in the middle of the day so they do not have to wait around for too long. We have found this system has worked well for our clients so far,” Carol says.

Simon Burges-Short, West Coast DHB Clinical Manager Social Work, says the DHB acknowledges that getting to and from appointments held in Greymouth, or to visit relatives in hospital can be a challenge for some Buller residents.

“Therefore we’ve invested towards the running costs of the Red Cross’ transport services. We encourage the community to support this service as much as possible to ensure its ongoing viability.  The DHB has also updated its information brochure on travel assistance options for anyone needing more information on what is available,” Mr Burges-Short says.

The West Coast DHB is aligning the administration of travel allowances in Buller with National Travel Allowance procedures.  Elsewhere travel assistance to people who are eligible is by way of reimbursement.  In future an advance payment to people seeking financial assistance for travel will no longer be provided, unless they are under great financial hardship, Simon says.

“If someone needs transport to Grey Base Hospital we hope they use the Red Cross service in the first instance. All they have to do is phone up to book a seat but it is important to call in advance as spaces are limited to seven passengers and/or carers,” he says.   

“It is also important people know there is a National Travel Assistance scheme for reimbursing eligible patients for some of the cost of travel to specialist appointments. We encourage and assist patients to arrange their own transport and seek reimbursement.”

Mr Burges-Short says social workers can help those who are eligible in applying for the National Travel Assistance Scheme, or they can contact the National Travel Coordinator at Grey Base Hospital at travel assistance email [SPAM-proofed - please copy this email by hand] or phone 0800 104 -141. 

To book your seat on the Red Cross’ Buller Transport Service phone 03 789 7659, or for a copy of the West Coast DHB’s brochure on the National Travel Assistance scheme select this link.


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For more information please contact:

Louise McLean
PA to Director of Nursing & Midwifery and Acting GM Hospital Services
t: (03) 769 7887
Corporate Office | West Coast District Health Board | Grey Base Hospital, PO Box 387, Greymouth 7840

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