Early last year CalMac introduced a government-funded system aimed at helping islanders get to medical appointments when there is no space for their car on the ferry. The ‘Urgent Medical Appointment Protocol‘ is unknown by many people, and has been changed a little recently. We have also been contacted by several people in the past week who could not get to hospital appointments, due to the Loch Frisa being full to capacity on most daytime sailings whilst she operates on her own. So this seems like a good time to remind islanders all about the protocol.
If you have recently received a medical appointment on the mainland to which you wish to travel to by car, but are unable to book your car on the ferry, CalMac will help to make sure you can still make the appointment.
To qualify you must:
- Be an island resident
- Have an appointment at an NHS hospital on the mainland
- Intend to travel to the appointment in your own car
- Have received notice of that medical appointment seven or fewer days before the appointment date
- Be unable to book your car on the sailings of your choice to get to and from the appointment
What CalMac will do for you:
- First of all they will explore all options for getting your car on the ferry, which may include liaising with local port offices.
- If that fails, they will pay for a taxi to and from the appointment for the mainland portion of the journey.
How the service works:
- Try to book on your desired sailings. If no spaces are available, then:
- Ring the CalMac contact centre on 0800 066 5000
- Make it clear that you wish to access the Urgent Medical Appointment Protocol
- CalMac will first attempt to get your car on the sailings you need.
- If that fails, they will offer to pay for a taxi for the mainland portion of your trip, in both directions.
- You will need to initially book and pay for the taxi yourself.
- After your journey, follow CalMac instructions to send your taxi receipt to receive reimbursement.
- The protocol is only for the use of people with out-patient, clinic or short-stay NHS appointments.
- It is not for appointments at private hospitals
- It is not for hospital discharge or visiting someone in hospital
- You must have contacted CalMac to access the service. Taxi receipts will only be reimbursed if you have previously contacted CalMac and your name has been added to a list of passengers authorised to use the service.