A CRITIC of an NHS move to limit the number of patients receiving free transport to medical appointments has welcomed a decision to consider easing the restrictive regime.

Councillor John Blackie said common sense appeared to have prevailed after a review of imposing national eligibility criteria for the Patient Transport Service (PTS) across North Yorkshire highlighted that the issues of “distance and rurality” needed addressing.

John Darley announced another change – that eye injection patients would in future receive free transport to and from hospitals – as he was speaking to Richmondshire District Council on behalf of Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby clinical commissioning group (CCG).

Upper Dales independent councillor Blackie said the imposition of national criteria had caused “extreme anxiety amongst the elderly and vulnerable living in the more rural areas of the county”.

He said: “I welcome the return of the recognition of distance, rurality and lack of public transport into the eligibility criteria and the lifting of the absurd provision of one way PTS journeys for those needing eye injections, although these key factors should never have been removed by the CCG in the first place. The changes need to be introduced immediately and indeed go further to address the understandable anxiety they have raised.”