Driving important connections

In this time of social distancing, the team at Bankstown Canterbury Community Transport (BCCT) has discovered that some of their elderly clients don’t have the capacity, available equipment or English language proficiency to interact online.
So, they are picking up the phone and calling to check in, chat and encourage them to keep on top of ongoing health issues.
Normally a driver, Brad Ladkin, has been hitting the phones, speaking with about 35 people each day, commenting “some clients are receiving support from family, but there are others with no or distant family to help with shopping, pharmacy scripts, banking and trips to the doctor.”
“The phone calls have all been happily answered, clients are delighted we are still providing transport and we are able to assist them with travel needs and others are feeling the loneliness of the lock down and have been grateful to have a chance to chat,” he said.
Brad says most people he has spoken to are keeping busy knitting, reading, cleaning and undertaking household repairs.
“Many are also anxious to get their flu shots and unsure about safely accessing their usual health services,” he said.
“These findings are supported by recent calls from the Australian Medical Association, the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine and Health Minister Greg Hunt for people to ‘maintain their day-to-day health management plans’.”
BCCT Executive Officer, Rachel Thompson is urging elderly residents and those with disability to contact the community transport service.
She said recent reports indicate that some non-English speaking residents may be struggling with telehealth services.
“Community transport services are available, and we are actively working with service providers to ensure that some of our most vulnerable community members have access to the health services they need as this crisis continues,” she said.
BCCT has been operating in the Canterbury Bankstown area for over 30 years and has a fleet of 21 vehicles, providing transport to 3,800 clients on more than 65,000 trips per year.