Speaking out about Transport to Health Services

Find out how we have helped people to share their views and experiences of travelling to health services in Devon.


Transport is a big issue in a large rural county like Devon. It affects people’s access to jobs, schools, and of course health and care services.

Healthwatch Devon has received frequent feedback from Devon residents about concerns with transport services. So we wanted to take a closer look at the issue, getting your views on what works – and doesn’t – for you.

What we did

We ran a survey to find out:

  • What public and patient transport services people use to get to the health and care services they need
  • Whether people are aware of the full range of transport services available to them
  • Whether those services are accessible and affordable
  • How people think transport to health and care services could be improved.

Our findings

Nearly 300 people got in touch to share their experiences.  The top 5 issues were:

Patient Transport Services – although widely praised, there have been issues with punctuality. One provider has been the cause of numerous complaints, with failings identified by the Care Quality Commission.

Bus Services – long journeys, complicated timetables and lack of connections were all raised. Getting to early morning and evening appointments proved particularly difficult for patients.

Travelling distance – the further away the service, the harder it is to get there if you are reliant on public transport. Distance can also make it difficult for friends and relatives to visit or offer practical support to people in hospital.

Parking – the park and ride scheme for the RD& E hospital was praised for convenience and accessibility.  But elsewhere, – inadequacy of spaces, and walking distances from car parks to hospital buildings create problems for car users.

Cost – bus fares can be costly over long distances.  Travelling outside of bus service times can also mean large taxi bills for some patients.  Many people were not aware that they may be able to reclaim travel costs.

Read our 4 page summary

Read our 4 page summary

Follow up

We have used our powers under Section 221 of the Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 to send formal recommendations to relevant providers and commissioners.

Check out our report summary or read our full Transport to Health report.

Read the responses from South Devon and Torbay CCG and NEW Devon CCG and Devon County Council

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