Uber taxis could soon be used to transfer non-emergency patients with illnesses ranging from cancer to dementia back and forth from NHS hospitals in a deal that could play a part in “cracking down” on bedblocking, according to the social care company behind it.

The agreement with Barts health NHS trust in London will allow patients to use Uber for journeys including hospital appointments, the care service startup Cera said.

The firm will use UberAssist disabled access cars and the UberWav service for wheelchair users. Carers will also be able to use the system alongside traditional forms of transport to determine the most efficient method for moving people, Cera said.

Patients will be looked after by Ceracarers under the London scheme, which uses a smartphone app to coordinate care, book drivers, and keep relatives informed.

Dr Ben Maruthappu, a former doctor and Cera’s co-founder, said the move would “radically integrate care and transport through technology”, adding: “Older people and those with disabilities will now have access to the highest-quality drivers, while carers will be able to efficiently travel to ensure they can provide services in the right place at the right time.”

“These partnerships tackle major challenges in the NHS, cracking down on bed-blocking and delayed discharges, while providing high-quality and efficient care.”

As well as the five London hospitals that make up the trust, clinical commissioning groups in Harrow, Brent and Hillingdon in north London will also use the service.

The Unison general secretary, Dave Prentis, said: “Social care and the NHS are in such a state of crisis that any initiative to ease the pressure will be welcomed by patients and staff.

“But the funding chasm between what is needed and the pitiful amount councils currently have to commission care is too deep. Nothing short of an emergency injection of cash in the budget, followed by the sustained and realistic funding of health and care will be enough.

“The government must also ensure that all companies that win care contracts don’t exploit staff and pay at the very least the minimum wage.

“Sadly there are still many out there breaking the law and getting away with it.”

David Mowat, minister for community and social care, said: “This is an interesting and innovative proposal which will help raise awareness of the challenges faced by the vulnerable elderly, and those with specific conditions that are becoming increasingly common in our society.”

This article was sourced from http://newsxanchor.com