In partnership with NHS Grampian and Manx Care, UK aviation services provider ABM has introduced a training program to improve its services to passengers traveling to and from medical appointments.
ABM team members based at Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport in England and Aberdeen International Airport in Scotland will receive specific training to help NHS patients who have medical support needs, traveling through the airports’ arrivals and departure terminals. The training will be delivered to current team members at all airports; moving forward, it will be included in ABM’s induction training across all airports. The training involves learning about the needs of patients with hidden illnesses and disabilities and how to support them. These include conditions such as bipolar, epilepsy, anxiety, cancer and Crohn’s disease.
Samantha Saunders, head of assisted services at ABM, said, “Limited hospitals 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 and 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. We appreciate that those traveling with additional support needs may have some anxieties, but we have a range of 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 recognized by the Civil Aviation Authority with a ‘Very Good’ rating for our PRM services.”
Christina Smith, customer services and accessibility executive at Liverpool’s John Lennon Airport, said, “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 traveling to and from the northwest for medical treatment. Traveling for treatment can bring extra stress and challenges, particularly for those traveling 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 traveling with us.”
Read more accessibility updates from the passenger terminal industry, here.