People with mobility difficulties in Ealing could be eligible for transport to take them to their GP surgery through a pilot initiative by Ealing Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
The number of participating practices in The Community Transport trial currently stands at 15 but 13 more are set to join soon.
Although transport is already provided for vulnerable patients to attend hospital appointments, after receiving feedback from users the CCG recognised the need to develop a reliable transport scheme for people to visit their GP surgery.
The service is provided by the charity Ealing Community Transport (ECT) in partnership with the NHS. Unlike with a regular bus or taxi service, the ECT driver can make sure the transport service is able to meet any individual requirements.
A user can also be accompanied by an escort or carer.
Dr Mohini Parmar, chair of Ealing CCG, said: “This pilot is all about services working together in an integrated way, with the patient at the heart of everything we do.
“We hope to see more GP practices participating in this scheme over time as it proves itself to be a success.”
Anna Whitty, chief executive of Ealing Community Transport, said: “Other than those who are genuinely bedridden, most could get to the surgery if only they had specialist transport. This will save the GP practice valuable time and resource when primary care is generally stretched.
"This is a great example of how community transport can provide solutions for people who fall through the gaps of existing mainstream transport services, whilst saving valuable NHS resources."
So far, the following practices are taking part in the pilot: Cuckoo Lane, Argyle Road, Doncaster Drive, Greenford Road, Islip Manor, Mandeville Medical Centre, St Barnabas Medical Centre, Eastmead, Broadmead Surgery, Goodcare Practice, Greenford Avenue FHP, Hanwell FHP, Mansell Road, Westseven (Hanwell Health), and Featherstone Road.