Airports facilities specialist ABM has partnered with NHS Grampian and Manx Care to develop what it calls an industry-leading training programme to enhance its services to passengers travelling to and from medical appointments.
ABM team members, based at Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport and Aberdeen International Airport, will receive specific training to help NHS patients who have medical support needs, travelling through the airports’ arrivals and departure terminals.
The training has involved learning about the needs of patients with hidden illnesses and disabilities and how to support them. These include condition such as bipolar, epilepsy, anxiety, cancer and Crohn’s Disease.
It says the training, which has been developed in partnership with NHS Grampian and Manx Care, enhances the services that ABM already provides for passengers with reduced mobility (PRM).
The training will be delivered to current team members at all airports and moving forward, included in ABM’s induction training across all airports.
Samantha Saunders, Head of Assisted Services at ABM, said: “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 that 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.”
Judith Forbes is the Orkney & Shetland Discharge Liaison Nurse with NHS Grampian and assisted in the development of this training. She said: “I am really pleased to see the training rolled out to teams at Aberdeen and Liverpool John Lennon Airport. Staff teams there 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, said: “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.”
Christina Smith, Customer Services & Accessibility Executive at Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport, added: “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.”