Problems with Wheels Transportation Service

At the Committee of the Whole Council meeting on Monday, two issues were raised by delegations that affected transport for disabled people. One was about a person who needed to go to the Hospital from the Golden Plough Lodge (GPL).  Since it was an emergency, an ambulance provided Transportation but when the patient was discharged, it was no longer an emergency so an ambulance was not available. However, since the 93 year old was on a stretcher, there was no way to get home to the GPL who said they are not mandated to provide this kind of transport. Eventually, after a long wait and a $160.18 charge to a credit card, Voyageur Medical Transportation did the job. The other issue was how to help wheelchair users on and off Wheels buses since drivers have been told not to assist after one driver was injured doing that.

Gwen Barnes
Gwen Barnes

The full details of the case of the 93 year old GPL resident makes interesting reading (see the Link below).  There is a group called the Family Council of Golden Plough Lodge who “advocate for the residents of the Golden Plough Lodge” and three members headed by their Chair Gwen Barnes presented their concerns to Council.  They didn’t have an answer and neither did Council but Mayor John Henderson said that the County (who are responsible for the GPL and social welfare issues) were not aware of the issues and as Cobourg’s representative on the County Council, John said he would make sure the issue was addressed.

The other issue is really two concerns: the need to provided door to door service and not just curb to curb plus the need to find a way to help wheelchair users climb the ramp into the bus.  During budget sessions it was decided that the ramp issue could be resolved with a retrofit to existing buses, that is to add an “Inline Assist Winch” plus a “Grab and Stability Bar”.  But Councillor Emily Chorley moved that in addition, a Town Policy be prepared to specify what help would be provided – much like other Municipalities provide.  Her motion was carried.  Council hopes that retrofitting the buses and specifying that service should be door to door should resolve both issues.


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Deborah O'Connor
28 January 2020 10:05 pm

If they can’t get me at the door and push me into the vehicle this service is no good to me. My travel wheelchair doesn’t even have a way for me to propel it so I need a person to push or else try and shuffle forward with my feet. At least I know that now, thanks to this post and comments. Good thing I have friends to help. Thanks everyone here.

28 January 2020 9:02 pm

Community Care Northumberland has a program Home at Last. Those needing assistance to get home after a hospital stay, groceries purchased, someone to stay with the ex-hospital patient, prepare a meal, etc. It might be worth checking out. This program is available in other regions of Ontario.

Deborah O'Connor
Reply to  What'sUpDoc
28 January 2020 10:09 pm

Community Care didn’t bother to tell me about that program!

Reply to  What'sUpDoc
28 January 2020 10:42 pm

Good to know. Helpful service if you can plan in advance. However, according to the letter presented by the delegate their research into options revealed that Community Care does not transport people on stretchers. And hours of operation may be a factor, too.

Reply to  What'sUpDoc
29 January 2020 5:49 pm

Community Care is incredibly frustrating to try and deal with. I was trying to get an elderly relative home from the hospital and their service is sporadic at best. Lots of propaganda about wonderful programs that never really get delivered.

28 January 2020 9:53 am

Here we go again! For the last 7 years I have been somewhat involved as a “real” patient advocate in Cobourg and mean “real” in the truest sense, ie not having any connection in any career, financial, political , or religious
organizations. My interest is purely from personal/friends/colleagues’ experiences and some of their sad stories.
It seems the answer is always to form a committee (and sometimes a committee to coordinate committees), and , yes, even a volunteer or two but in some cases , from very personal experience, the subject comes “full circle”, back to the same solution that had already been developed in recent times . it has to be something developed or proposed by paid staff or it seldom goes anywhere! I have personally experienced something along the same lines… one to support the patient from “home-to-home”….undergoing actual “transitions” in the Health System needs a lot more pragmatic approach.
Let’s hope the latest venture in ‘health reform” , the new OHTs will finally be supported by many actual patients, not just those having had careers in the Health System!

28 January 2020 8:53 am

The issue of return transportation from the hospital is not just a GPL issue. Any person transported to the hospital by ambulance has to find their own way home even it they are in a wheelchair or stretcher.

Health Care is a Provincial issue and this situation is difficult and expensive. The price tag for private transportation seems expensive but is peanuts compared to a government getting involved. The cost is a potential medical expense on taxes.

Ken Strauss
Reply to  Kyle
28 January 2020 9:07 am

Perhaps I’m misreading the letter from Ms. Barnes but the return trip to GPL seems less of an issue than the patient having to wait 8 hours for treatment for his injuries. He only had to wait for 3 hours for the trip to GPL!