Glasgow taxi driver struggling with pandemic helped transport 2,000 hospital patients
A Glasgow taxi driver who left his 15-year job to transport hospital patients across the city shared his love for the job.
Sandy had worked as a taxi driver for most of his career but faced with the drying up of business due to the covid pandemic he decided to join the NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde team outside of working hours .
The service transports patients from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and beyond for appointments.
After-hours services are in place long before the pandemic and are a vital provision for many by providing safe, efficient and free transportation for those who might otherwise not be able to make it to their appointments.
Sandy, of Knightswood, says he “hasn’t looked back” and estimates that since the start of the pandemic he has helped up to 2,000 patients get the care they need, after hours of work.
Across the NHSGGC there is now an after-hours fleet of 18 vehicles, which includes cars and buses. Drivers are trained in infection prevention and control procedures to keep patients safe and undergo advanced training to ensure they are able to provide the safest and most comfortable trips possible.
On an average shift, Sandy will be transporting around six patients per day – each job typically takes around an hour or more, including both legs of the route.
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Sandy has spent a lot of time driving suspected covid patients to and from Covid assessment centers and more recently has taken cancer patients to appointments at the Beatson, which may include back and forth trips as well. far than Ayrshire. In addition to providing vital transportation, drivers also play an important role in patient care, helping to provide background information and conversations to help relax patients before their destination.
Commenting, Sandy said: “I have been a black hackney driver my entire career, but the job dried up when the pandemic started and there was an opportunity to join the NHSGGC driving team.
“I have enjoyed the work since I arrived. I help patients get to where they need to be and meet new people every day. It is rewarding to be a part of general patient care and there is a very strong team environment starting at the Cardonald base.
Mags Smith, Acting Out of Hours Service Manager, added, “Sandy is an asset to the team and does a great job keeping patients comfortable. After-hours chauffeur service is crucial – there can be a number of reasons why a patient cannot get to their destination and the driver team is here to help. This can be a real lifeline and helps ensure that we are able to meet the needs of any particular patient. “