A SCHEME set up to help patients get to their GP appointments has been saved after being registered as a charity.
But campaigners say a cash injection is needed if it is to continue giving free lifts to 100 patients a week.
The Holme Valley transport scheme for people living in rural areas was started five years ago for patients using Honley Surgery and Holmfirth’s Elmwood and Oaklands health centres.
It was introduced to help cut the number of home visits that GPs were having to make to far-flung parts of the district.
At first the scheme – which costs £30,000 a year to run – survived on cash from agencies including the local primary care trust, the Countryside Agency and the Three Valleys Consortium.
Now the service is a registered charity.
But it may have to halve the number of patients it can help if it cannot secure more cash by next month.
Helen Kitching, practice development manager at Honley Surgery, said: “It is so important to our patients.
“We have patients living as far out as Dunford Bridge, Penistone and Carlecotes.
“If it wasn’t for the transport they wouldn’t be able to get to the surgery.
“We also have older patients who have been able to use the surgery for three or fours years longer because of this scheme.
“But we’re living hand to mouth at the moment and will be running on half-time from next month if we don’t find extra money.”
The scheme is managed by Honley Surgery at Marsh Gardens and uses a seven-seat people carrier.
Ms Kitching added: “Contrary to what people think, not everyone living in the Holme Valley is affluent.
“Some are isolated and have a very restrictive lifestyle.
“There are also pockets of deprivation and that is who we’re trying to help.”
The charity has already been given money by the Beaumont and Jessop Relief In Need Fund in Honley and the Holmfirth League of Friends. Patients have also given donations to help keep the service running.
To make a cash pledge call Honley Surgery on 01484 303366.