A team of 4x4 volunteer drivers is ready to help NHS staff get to hospital, clinics and home appointments in Warwickshire if any heavy snowfall comes this winter.
South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust (SWFT), who provide healthcare services across the whole of Warwickshire, has recently formed a partnership with the group of volunteers.
The idea came from Leamington resident and part time Land Rover Experience instructor Graeme Wright in March after snow from the ‘Beast from the East’ caused major disruption for staff at Warwick Hospital.
At the time, Graeme urged people with 4x4s to help get staff to hospital and to see patients in their homes. He later encouraged people to join a group to help staff when the weather got bad again.
And now, around 20 people with 4x4s have joined up. Graeme said: “We don’t have any funding for this at all - it’s all volunteers. We’re hoping if it’s successful, it may attract some kind of sponsorship.
“We’re still looking for more people to join up. If the worst was to happen we need as many people as we can get.”
If heavy snow is forecast, the trust will ring Graeme or another lead coordinator of the service. A group text is then sent out to volunteers.
When the volunteers reply, the hospital knows exactly who they can call to help their staff get around.
Helen Lancaster, director of operations at South Warwickshire NHS Trust, said: “Last year was a particularly bad winter in terms of the severe weather we had.
"This can pose a real problem for healthcare providers because even though we have lots of dedicated staff who do their best to do their jobs, sometimes the only way to get around is with a 4x4 vehicle.
"This is where the drivers club offers an important lifeline. Their help means we can continue providing care to people who rely on it."
Anyone wishing to join the group should email Graeme at firstname.lastname@example.org.