New bus will help patients at St Peter's Hospice

Marc Willetts, from the Bristol Masonic Benevolent Institute, with Simon Caraffi, chief executive of St Peter's Hospice (standing to the right of the bus) and members of the mason with patients and their families

Marc Willetts, from the Bristol Masonic Benevolent Institute, with Simon Caraffi, chief executive of St Peter's Hospice (standing to the right of the bus) and members of the mason with patients and their families

First published in News by

A CHARITY which helps terminal patients live the end of their lives in comfort has been given a donation to fund a new bus.

St Peter’s Hospice has received the donation of £19,000 from the Bristol Masonic Benevolent Institute to buy a new specially adapted vehicle to transport patients.

The charity, which has a hospice in Brentry, Bristol and offers home care across the region including from its Yate base, has bought a second-hand, fully-converted Volkswagen Caddy Life which will transport wheelchair-bound patients to and from the day hospice.

The vehicle, which has been adapted to meet requirements for hospice patients, will also be used to transport inpatients to and from hospital appointments as well as being on hand to support visitors to the hospice who don’t have their own transport.

Marc Willetts, St Peter’s Hospice logistics manager, said: “The new mobility vehicle is going to be a huge asset for the hospice.

“It will allow us to transport wheelchair-bound patients as well as mobile patients to and from their day hospice sessions. It will also be invaluable in allowing us to get inpatients to scans and other hospital appointments.”

He added: “In the past outpatients have either had to make their own way to the hospice or we have sent volunteer drivers in their own cars to pick them up. If the patient is wheelchair-bound, which many are, we have provided a wheelchair taxi which can cost up to £1,000 for their 12-sessions.

“For inpatient hospital appointments we usually have to rely on an ambulance which can turn a 10-minute appointment into a four to five-hour wait for the patient. The new vehicle will reduce this stress for people hugely.”

Nick Robbins, 41, from Stoke Gifford is a patient at St Peter’s Hospice and is just one of the people who will benefit from the vehicle. He said: “The difference this vehicle will make to my life and other patients’ lives is indescribable.

“I have seizures which means I must sit in the back of the vehicle. Because it is fully modified my wheelchair now doesn’t need to be taken apart every time.

“Its size means my wife Laura can travel with me if needs be as well as nurse with bags and drug packs; it’s just made life so much easier.”

Paul Binding, from the Bristol Masonic Benevolent Institute, said: “It is a privilege to have provided the hospice with the money to purchase this van which will help make life easier for patients and staff alike.

“We have been supporters of the hospice for many years and will continue to support the wonderful work they do in Bristol.”

St Peter’s Hospice is always looking for volunteer drivers to help transport patients both in the hospice vehicle and their own cars. If you are interested please contact Marc Willetts on 0117 9159484.

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