Councillors’ locality support for GP surgery patient transport

06 Feb 2019

Five councillors combine locality budget support

Five St Edmundsbury councillors have combined funding from their locality budgets to ensure a voluntary scheme can continue to offer transport to the local health centre for patients in their wards.

The scheme, run by Ixworth Patients Association, helps people from a wide area who use Ixworth GP Surgery. Cllr John Griffiths for Ixworth and Ixworth Thorpe, Cllr Simon Brown for Pakenham, Cllr Andrew Smith for Bardwell; Cllr Jim Thorndyke for Stanton and  Cllr Carol Bull for Barningham, have all contributed from their locality budgets towards the volunteer drivers’ expenses for the patient journeys they make. 

Cllr John Griffiths, who is also Leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council said,

‘Being a predominantly rural borough these locality grants can have a terrific influence on quality of life for all our residents. Ixworth and the surrounding villages are pretty independent communities, blessed with residents who tend to see a need and get personally involved in organising a response. I believe one of the best things is supporting the effort people put into community life and I am delighted that all our councillors are able to support them, both in their own areas, and cross-boundary, as in this case.’

Dr Graeme Norris, Chair of Ixworth Patients’ Association said,

‘Established in 1988, our patient association is one of the first and oldest in the country, which I believe demonstrates the willingness local people have to help one another, and I pay tribute to Sybil Kruger who has coordinated the transport service for over 20 years and all our volunteer drivers. Recently though we have struggled to cover the volunteer’s cost per mile, which is why I am delighted that our ward councillors have answered our call for help.’ 

Cllr Andrew Smith of Bardwell ward, who is a member of the Ixworth Patients Association, said,

‘Graeme Norris came to parish council meetings in the area to put the case for the scheme, which serves an aging rural population with increasing health needs and fewer transport options. They are very well served by the poly-practice surgery, and this scheme equally supports our dedicated medical professionals. My fellow St Edmundsbury Borough Councillors immediately saw the value our funding brings, allowing the admirable local volunteer drivers to continue the scheme. ’

The locality budget contributions are Cllr Griffiths £500, Cllrs, Brown, Bull, Smith and Thorndyke £250.

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