Rest-home opts for taxi

Malcolm Hendry.
Malcolm Hendry.
A Mosgiel rest-home and hospital will use more private taxi transport for non-emergency resident transport because the price gap between St John and taxi companies is now ''significant''.

Birchleigh Residential Care Centre chief executive Malcolm Hendry said recent publicity about a 38% increase in St John charges prompted an approach from a taxi driver whose vehicle is fitted for non-emergency transfers.

The driver was a former St John volunteer, and had been called on before for transfers occasionally.

''He's a great person for us in terms of our confidence that the residents are going to be treated appropriately.

''We've got residents who are vulnerable at the best of times. For the sake of saving a few dollars, we wouldn't want to put them at risk.''

The facility was likely to use the designated taxi more often, while still calling an ambulance for non-emergency travel when necessary.

''The price gap now between what the taxis are charging and what St John is charging is significant.''

Mr Hendry, who is also the Aged Care Association's Otago Southland board member, said he understood Invercargill aged care providers were considering a joint approach to a taxi company in the city.

Facilities could charge transport costs to residents, but the industry generally did not do so, and he had no plans to start charging them.

Approached for comment, St John operations director Michael Brooke said the price rise was the first in more than four years, and the charges were being increased to better reflect the actual cost.

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