Enhancing the Airport Experience for NHS Patients
ABM passenger handling agents at Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport and Aberdeen International Airport will be trained to further support NHS patients who travel to access medical care.
Developed with NHS Grampian and Manx Care, the new training extends a previous initiative to support passengers with reduced mobility (PRM) by ensuring employees additionally learn about the needs of patients with bipolar disorder, epilepsy, anxiety, cancer, Crohn’s Disease, and other hidden illnesses and disabilities.
We want to extend our expertise and our teams’ interpersonal skills to passengers who may also be feeling particularly vulnerable
Samantha Saunders, Head of Assisted Services at ABM, explains: “Limited hospital and other medical facilities in places such as Highlands and Islands of Scotland and Isle of Man mean that often patients are transferred through airports, to access the medical support they require from other areas of the country. Our teams, at both Aberdeen Airport and Liverpool John Lennon, assist around 10 NHS patients per day who may need support before or after an appointment.
“The training that we have introduced builds on the support that our teams already offer to vulnerable passengers. We want to extend our expertise and our teams’ interpersonal skills to passengers who may also be feeling particularly vulnerable, who may have received difficult news and need help during their travels.
“We strive to make a difference every day and this initiative is a great example of that effort and commitment to go above and beyond.”
Staff teams have a huge role to play in ensuring people have a safe and comfortable journey to and from medical appointments.
Judith Forbes who serves as NHS Grampian’s Discharge Liaison Nurse for the Scottish island groups of Orkney and Shetland, and assisted with developing the new training programme, says: “I am really pleased to see the training rolled out to teams at Aberdeen and Liverpool John Lennon Airport.
“Staff teams have a huge role to play in ensuring people have a safe and comfortable journey to and from medical appointments.
“I was happy to give the benefit of my clinical experience and I hope all teams find the training useful.”
Kevin Douglas, Terminal Operations Manager at Aberdeen International Airport, adds: “Aviation is for everyone, and we appreciate that those travelling with additional support needs may have some anxieties, but we have a range or practices in place to help people travel safely.
“It has been fantastic to work with all the partners on this training to continue the good work that saw Aberdeen International Airport recognised by the Civil Aviation Authority with a ‘Very Good’ rating for our PRM services.”
The training will be delivered to current team members at all airports and moving forward, included in ABM’s induction training across all airports.
Travelling for treatment can bring extra stresses and challenges, particularly for those travelling for treatment for the first time or alone
Christina Smith, Customer Services & Accessibility Executive at Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport, comments: “Liverpool John Lennon Airport works closely with the Isle of Man Patient Transfer team and patient groups and charities on the island to jointly support patients travelling to and from the northwest for medical treatment.
“Travelling for treatment can bring extra stresses and challenges, particularly for those travelling for treatment for the first time or alone, so it is really important that airport colleagues are able to offer advice and support.
“This training is so important and a very welcome addition at this time when more people are travelling with us.”
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