Posted: Thu 3rd Mar 2016

Bwcabus – looking after people’s health /
This article is old - Published: Thursday, Mar 3rd, 2016

Bwcabus is working in partnership with health organisations in the Teifi Valley to give patients access to the care they need. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Living in rural and sometimes remote areas of Carmarthenshire and Ceredigion, many patients struggle to attend appointments. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

But unlike traditional bus services; Bwcabus is flexible, more widely available, and journeys can be pre-booked to meet people’s needs when attending appointments. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Philip Bower, from Llandyfriog, regularly uses the service to attend his surgery in Adpar. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He said: “Bwcabus helps me enormously as I don’t drive. Without the service I would have to walk along a busy road with no pavement or even ask neighbours. Bwcabus gives me my independence and I can depend on it being there. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“I have also used Bwcabus a number of times to visit a relation in Bronglais Hospital in Aberystwyth and have myself attended hospital appointments in Cardigan and Carmarthen using Bwcabus to connect with the Cardigan to Carmarthen 460 service. I find the service invaluable.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Doctors’ surgeries are benefitting with less demand for home visits; and there is less reliance on non-emergency transport for hospital appointments. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Teifi Surgery in Llandysul is one of a number of surgeries to actively promote Bwcabus to its patients. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Dr Chant said: “Teifi Surgery has found the services provided by Bwcabus to be extremely beneficial to our patients as the rural nature of our practice often causes difficulty to attend surgery. Having encouraged patients to use the service has resulted in less requests for home visits. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We would welcome not only the Bwcabus service continuing but also increased routes and services as this would improve health care services within our community. We have found Bwcabus to be supportive and flexible in the services it offers.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Peter Llewellyn, Assistant Director of Strategic Partnerships at Hywel Dda University Health Board, praised the service for the support it is providing. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

He said: “By working in partnership with the Bwcabus project and Carmarthenshire County Council we have seen the benefit of jointly promoting and supporting a unique rural transport model. It has provided much needed support for patients living in rural settlements to access vital primary and secondary health care appointments. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

“We are also delighted that local surgeries have promoted the use of Bwcabus and have adapted their systems to accommodate Bwcabus passengers; the benchmark for all rural practices to aspire to going forward. There are now further plans to consolidate these arrangements to assist with moving demand away from home visits and to potentially reduce reliance on non-emergency transport to convey patients to Glangwili Hospital.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Due to the good work being carried out in relation to primary health care in the community; new opportunities are now being explored for secondary care with a new project called SA48 being launched shortly. A partnership project between the council and the health board, it will enable rural patients to access transport to attend outpatient appointments at Glangwili Hospital. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Carmarthenshire’s Executive Board Member for Transport Cllr Hazel Evans said: “This is exciting news. The Bwcabus service is providing a valuable contribution to rural life, health and the local economy.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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