Getting to health appointments across the Hurunui and North Canterbury is now easier for Cheviot residents, with the help of a service that connects them to a dedicated team of volunteer drivers with access to a community vehicle.
The service, which support locals get to health appointments such as physiotherapy, dental, x-ray, general practice, and medical specialist appointments, was set up by the Cheviot Community Trust following an application to Environment Canterbury (ECAN) to fund the purchase of a car.
Faye Daly, who is a district nurse based in Cheviot says the service is key in helping older people stay well and thrive in the communities they’ve loved to live in for years.
“It is used mostly by older people, which allows them to feel more confident and reassured about staying in the area, because they know they can still get to medical appointments,” says Faye.
“It’s a comfortable way to get to their appointments and makes hospital visits so much easier with drop off and pick up at the door.”
How it all works
When people need the service, they call the Cheviot Community Health Centre to book it. The volunteer coordinator then organises the roster from a list of volunteer drivers who have been police checked and had their driving assessed.
Faye continued: “The dedicated volunteers are more than just a taxi driver, as they at times are asked to be the patient’s support person and go into the appointment with them. This can be a great help during what can be a vulnerable and scary time for people.”
Bev Thiele, service coordinator, says the car is used twice a week on average to go to Rangiora, Burwood, Amberley, and Christchurch city.
“The volunteer drivers are brilliant and go the extra mile, such as occasionally using their own car if the community car is fully booked,” says Bev.
“They also pick-up people to take them to the Cheviot Community Health Centre, which the practice receptionist and nurse used to do sometimes. Now the practice staff have more time to spend with patients.”
Story originally posted on the Canterbury Clinical Network website.