(2) how many volunteers who used their own vehicle to transport patients on behalf of the NHS were reimbursed in 2008; and what his most recent estimate is of the equivalent figure in 2009 to date.
No assessment has been made by the Department of the use of voluntary drivers. Any assessment of voluntary car schemes would be for the local national health service to make.
We are aware of the huge contribution that volunteer drivers make to health and well being by offering transport free of charge to many vulnerable and potentially isolated patients and service users. The Department is currently working to develop a strategic vision for volunteering in health and social care which will acknowledge this contribution and highlight the importance of volunteer expenses being reimbursed.