DEVON Primary Care Trust and Devon County Council have said they will provide long-term support to community transport associations following a campaign by Torridge District Councillor Adam Symons and others. The commitment came at a Devon Health and Ad

DEVON Primary Care Trust and Devon County Council have said they will provide long-term support to community transport associations following a campaign by Torridge District Councillor Adam Symons and others.The commitment came at a Devon Health and Adults Overview and Scrutiny meeting, as Cllr Symons pressed Devon PCT on its plans to maintain patient transport services in the wake of the withdrawal of the voluntary ambulance car scheme (VACS).At the meeting, it was stated that there was an "absolute commitment" from the PCT and the county council to support community transport groups and that this was a "long-term commitment." It was said that, over the last 18 months, there had been a "change of view" on the need to support community transport groups over patient transport, and that the raising of the issue by councillors and the scrutiny committee had helped to change the view."Duncan Goodman, Director of the Torridge Community Transport Association said: "I am delighted to hear of the commitment to a service that so many people rely on. I appreciate the support of the district and county council, who have worked hard to gain this undertaking."Cllr Symons said: "I was pleased that we have convinced Devon PCT and DCC of the need to provide ongoing support to community transport groups. "Some patients have been suffering since the withdrawal of VACS. Government guidance, stating that 'health' should not be responsible for non-urgent patient transport, did not help. "However, I applaud the fact that DCC and Devon PCT have recognised the importance of the community transport organisations in helping patients get to appointments. We have been campaigning for 18 months now, and we feel vindicated by the stance we have taken.