Transport services for health and social care are fragmented and there is a lack of leadership, ownership and monitoring of the services provided. The Scottish Government, Regional Transport Partnerships, councils, NHS boards and the ambulance service are not working together effectively to deliver transport for health and social care or making best use of available resources. (Audit Scotland 2011 p. 4) With an aging population, transport for vulnerable groups is a major concern for the Scottish Government, and it continues to be examined at the highest levels in Scotland. Of particular focus is the need to better co-ordinate and optimise the wide range of transport services provided by public, private and third sector organisations. This is reflected in The Scottish Parliament Infrastructure and Capital Investment Committees report on Community Transport, and its recommendations to the Scottish Government were the subject of a debate in the Chamber of the Scottish Parliament on 30th October 2013. Against this background, the project investigated how to improve transport services which help older people access health and social care in Aberdeen. The availability of transport services, and whether older people are eligible to use them has been identified as a key issue by the third sector and the project has an opportunity to address this challenge. The project is funded by the Change Fund1 and overseen by the Aberdeen Social Transport Working Group, comprising ACVO TSI (Aberdeens Third Sector Interface), Robert Gordon University (RGU), Nestrans2, Scottish Care, Aberdeen City Council, Buchan Dial-a-Community Bus, British Red Cross, Royal Voluntary Service (formerly WRVS) and Co-wheels. The Social Transport Steering Group has responsibility for the management and monitoring of the project and consists of ACVO TSI, Robert Gordon University and Nestrans. Following the inception of the project, a new Programme Manager was appointed to the Health and Transport Action Plan (HTAP)3 1 The Scottish Government established the Change Fund for older peoples services to enable health, social care, housing, Independent and Third sector Partners to implement local plans for making better use of their combined resources to improve outcomes for older people. (Joint Improvement Team 2011 p. 1) This four year fund (2011-2015) has an allocation of Â£300 million. and has subsequently joined the Aberdeen Social Transport Working Group and the Social Transport Steering Group. As part of the project, a team at Robert Gordon University has conducted research to provide an evidence base upon which to plan and direct future transport improvements. This research aimed to investigate the extent to which the current provision of transport services for health and social care are meeting the needs of older people within Aberdeen City and to make recommendations about how to address unmet demand. The project gathered both quantitative and qualitative data from a range of participants: transport providers and associated organisations; third sector organisations either having a specific role with older people or working more generally in the sector; private care bodies; and other academics. Many of these contacts led to further useful sources of information throughout Scotland and the UK, and identified notable transport projects as far afield as Canada and Australia. REPORT BY INSTITUTE FOR MANAGEMENT, GOVERNANCE AND SOCIETY (IMAGES), ROBERT GORDON UNIVERSITY, FOR ABERDEEN COUNCIL FOR VOLUNTARY ORGANIZATIONS (AVCO)
GRAY, D., COOPER, K. and GRINNALL, A. 2014. Social transport collaborative solutions: developing a social/community transport infrastructure for change funded projects and associated activity around reshaping care for older people (RCOP). Unpublished internal document. Aberdeen: Aberdeen Council of Voluntary Organisations (ACVO)/Institute for Management, Governance & Society (IMaGeS), Robert Gordon University.