Northern Health issues request for proposal for patient ground transportation links

Northern Health?s new Northern Health Connections program has reached a significant milestone, with a call for proposals being issued for ground transportation routes. The priority of the program is to provide travel options for patients who need to go outside their home community for physician-referred medical services.

?We are very optimistic that Northern Health will receive many viable proposals, given the ideas brought forward in our recent request for expressions of interest in this program,? said NH CEO Malcolm Maxwell.

The first RFP asks proponents to provide proposals for long distance ground transport along the following routes:

? Vancouver to/from Prince George

? Prince George to/from Terrace

? Prince George to/from Fort St. John

via Chetwynd and Dawson Creek

? Prince George to/from Prince Rupert

? Fort Nelson to/from Grande Prairie, AB

via Fort St. John and Dawson Creek

The second RFP asks for proposals on short distance ground transportation along the following routes:

? Burns Lake to/from Smithers

? Burns Lake to/from Prince George

? McBride to/from Prince George

? Valemount to/from Prince George

? Valemount to/from Kamloops

? Houston to/from Smithers and Terrace

? Terrace to/from Kitimat

NH intends to conduct the planning process for service to additional communities in late 2005 and early 2006.

?From our community consultations, there has been a clear message that we need services at a low cost to the user that will help people who have modest incomes and difficulty in arranging their own travel,? said Northern Health Connections Regional Manager Sean Hardiman.

It?s expected that some services will be available this fall. Short-distance routes will likely operate once a week or more depending on demand and costs, with long distance routes operating twice a week.