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      More children seen at hospital visits in Birmingham thanks to new study | News

      ByMonelo Gabriel

      Feb 14, 2023

      The project is run by Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospitals.

      Author: Ella StirlingPosted 9 hours ago
      Last update 9 hours ago

      A new scheme run by Birmingham Hospitals for Women and Children (BWC) has helped more underprivileged children keep hospital appointments.

      The initial eight-week pilot project contacted families about their appointment and offered free transportation to the hospital, including free parking at the hospital site, public transportation tickets, and taxi services if needed.

      It meant fewer kids missed their appointments and more were seen on waiting lists. With 90% of the study group accepting the offer of assistance with travel and another 140 appointments were reassigned.

      Kerri Pointon, mother of Travis, who took up the scheme, said: “The initiative is absolutely great and much needed at this time. It really helps when you pay for the trip in advance, as some families just can’t afford to claim the money back later. The team that organized this for us were lovely and went out of their way to help.”

      A short research project found that the average cost for a family to attend medical appointments is over £35. This can create barriers to accessing services, particularly for those experiencing financial hardship. Every year more than 4.6% of citations are lost at BWC, costing the Trust around £3.6 million.

      Ally Davies, Deputy Director of Quality Improvement, said: “Communication has been absolutely critical. I really think the pilot program was successful because of the conversations we had with families.

      “This initiative pays for itself because we’re having fewer wasted appointments, so it covers the cost of doing it.

      “Indeed, we have a perfect initiative, one that helps our organization fill appointments and see children in the time we need, and that helps families who need the support most.

      “With the cost of living, we never want to put our families in a scenario where they have to choose between heating the house or taking their child to an appointment. So anything we can do to help, to take that pressure off away from them, then we will certainly try,” he said.

      A second phase of the study began in November 2022 and will run through the end of March 2023 to help more patients in the identified areas in Birmingham and Solihull.

      The Trust also hopes to extend the scheme to women’s and mental health services.

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