Mental Health Service Users are experiencing difficulties when applying for Transport Passes from Transport For Greater Manchester

Alan Hartman from North Manchester Service User Group reports on the impact of “Stepping Down” and the high case loads of mental health staff on people with severe and enduring mental health issues. This is especially hitting people in the pocket and leaving people with little or no mobility.

Patients with Severe and Enduring Mental Illness are being discharged back to their GPs, further caseloads of Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust are extremely high with a very high employee turnover.

This means patients have to rely on their GPs for medical evidence of the application form when applying for a transport pass.

This can cause a serious domino effect, lack of mobility, causes you stopping attending therapies and hospital appointments, also keeps people longer in hospital and being isolated in your home can trigger a serious episode of mental illness.

For example a female Service User, was very upset because her GP charged her £35 to produce and sign the form required to get the bus pass. This is because GPs say they are not contracted by NHS commissioners or Transport for Greater Manchester TfGM to do this work.

Another Service User also very upset say she asked to see the nurse employed by TfGM, and told they were working from home and when she asked for an assessment over the phone she was told this is not possible.

A male Service User (who did not know whether he was still under the Trust or not) went to his GP, but was told he would have to wait weeks for the form to be completed, this hasc left him very anxious and stressed.

We need several meetings to sort these problems out, with the attendance of Councillor Emma Taylor, Assistance Executive Member (Transport).

We feel either the yearly extension should be brought back till we can sort out these problems that are putting many people with Severe & enduring Mental Illness at risk.

Current situation

My concerns and questions of the situation were not answered.

GPs are still charging some patients as much £35 (GPs have always been private businesses) to fill in a form for a bus pass.

TfGM have ignored the current guidance for disabled people from the Department of Transport for local Authorities, that the applicant should not pay the cost of the administration for isonly a paper medical assessment, which is totally superfluous.

My advice to Service Users that are charged by their GPs is send the receipt to Eamonn Boylan, Chief Executive, Transport for Greater Manchester, 2, piccadilly place, Manchester M1 3BG and asked for reimbursement.

Also, if your bus pass does not come in time, which is the fault of TfGM keep your tickets and send for reimbursement.

It was agreed we write to Cllr Taylor and Eamonn Boylan, Chief Executive of TfGM, with everybody name on the letter.

Alan Hartman, North Manchester Service Users Group, September 2021

Published by CHARM Greater Manchester

CHARM, the Community for Holistic, Accessible, Rights Based Mental Health was launched by The Organic Recovery Learning Community in September 2020.

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