Wednesday 28 September 2016

Public transport does not cover the needs of patients - so we step in

Published 14/09/2015 | 02:30

Cormac Clancy from Glenageary who has overcome cancer and now runs a patient transport service pictured in Dublin Photo: Frank McGrath
Cormac Clancy from Glenageary who has overcome cancer and now runs a patient transport service pictured in Dublin Photo: Frank McGrath

Cormac Clancy from Glenageary in Dublin knows what it's like to live with cancer.

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Diagnosed in 2009, he was lucky enough to have a support network of family and friends to help transport him to hospital for treatment.

Today, he acts as a volunteer driver for the Irish Cancer Society, ferrying patients from their homes to hospital for chemotherapy.

Some clients live in areas poorly served by public transport, he says, while others don't have anyone to drive them.

"I was diagnosed in 2009 and treated for throat and kidney cancer," said Mr Clancy.

"I was lucky in that I had family and loads of friends and lived quite near to where I was treated.

"Patients can be quite young, from their early 20s to their 70s.

"A lot of the time it is not feasible or recommended to drive (after receiving treatment)."

Public transport generally is either not suitable or not available for the needs of a cancer patient.

"The distance people have to walk to get to a bus stop can be quite extraordinary. In parts of Tallaght it can be two miles," said Mr Clancy.

"To get a taxi can be out of the question because it's too expensive. But we don't ask. Somebody who is outwardly wealthy can be very cash-poor."

Each volunteer undergoes a training programme outlining what is required.

Drivers are not allowed to enter people's homes and cannot accept gifts. There are a few other pointers.

"We're there to collect and drop. Some people want to talk, some don't," said Mr Clancy.

"We're trained to avoid topics that are likely to get heated, like politics.

"We're not trained to lift, so if a passenger needs assistance someone else must do it.

"I could collect from within the greater Dublin area but occasionally from Wicklow and Kildare.

"It would generally be Dublin. On longer runs the drive can be split between two volunteers."

Irish Independent

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