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
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.