Frequently asked questions about the Volunteer Driver Service

What is the Irish Cancer Society Volunteer Driver Service?

The Volunteer Driver Service is a volunteer delivered transport service wherein the Irish Cancer Society recruits, trains, Garda vets and reference checks volunteers to drive patients to and from their chemotherapy treatments in our partner hospitals. 

We also offer two boundaried services for patients undergoing radiotherapy treatments. 

  • The first is for Donegal patients attending Galway University Hospital and who are staying for the full week (Monday to Friday) in Inis Aoibhinn on the grounds of the hospital. Patients are transported from Donegal on a Monday morning to Inis Aoibhinn and then home again on a Friday afternoon.
     
  • The second service is from The Lodge in St. Luke’s Hospital, Dublin. Patients are transported to the various transport hubs in Dublin to travel home on a Friday afternoon. 

Frequently asked questions about the Volunteer Driver Service for patients

Do I have to pay for the service?

No. The service is completely free to both the patient and the hospital with the Irish Cancer Society incurring all costs. The costs of running this award winning service are paid for by the wonderful commitment of our dedicated fundraisers and supporters!

Does the Volunteer Driver Service facilitate all types of cancer and treatment?

The the Volunteer Driver Service service accommodates patients undergoing chemotherapy in one of our 25 partner hospitals or those who are attending for radiotherapy in Galway University Hospital or in The Lodge in St. Luke’s, Rathgar (see explanation above). 

What happens when a patient is referred to the service?

  • Once a patient is referred to the service by the hospital, they are contacted by the office team and sent a Welcome Pack. In this initial contact, the patients first appointment is taken (it is then up to the client to contact the office team (01 2310 522) regarding all subsequent appointments.
     
  • Once an appointment has been made, a driver is sourced from our database (this is done mainly by geographic proximity to the client). The driver is then given the details of the clients and they contact them two working days before the appointment to re-confirm details.
     
  • On the day of the drive, the driver arrives at the patient home at the agreed time, picks the patient up and drops them to the hospital door. The patient attends the hospital for treatment and, when they are ready to go home, they call the driver who then goes back to the hospital to collect them. The driver drops the patient home. 

As a patient, how do I apply to become a client of the Volunteer Driver Service?

To access the Volunteer Driver Service you must be referred by a healthcare professional (social worker or oncology nurse) in one of our partner hospitals.

Does the driver have many details about the client? Will they know the type of cancer I have? 

The driver has the information needed to do the drive – namely,  the clients name, address, contact details and next of kin. The only other information that the driver will have is whether a client needs assistance getting in and out of the car. If that is the case, a companion will need to accompany the client as the driver cannot lift or handle the client in any way.

How many clients will be in the driver's car at any one time? Will I have to wait for the last person to be finished treatment before I can go home?

No, the service is one-on-one. There is one client in the car with the driver - no one else. The only time another person is in the car is when the client brings a companion - sometimes a client will bring a companion with them for physical or emotional support. 

Which hospitals have the Volunteer Driver Service available? 

The Volunteer Driver Service is expanding to new hospitals all the time. As of August 2019, the Volunteer Driver Service is available in 25 hospitals around Ireland, with the service set to be continuously rolled out over the coming years . Follow this link for the full list of hospitals in which the Volunteer Driver Service is currently available

Why do patients apply for the service? 

There are a number of reasons why people might need the support of the Volunteer Driver Service:

  • Patients are living on their own with little or no immediate family support.  
  • The patient's family is not in the immediate vicinity.  
  • The patient's family cannot take time off work to bring them to and from the hospital (since the start of the recession, people were often afraid to take time off work).
  • Patients are elderly and cannot drive (and their spouse cannot drive).
  • The treatment is too aggressive and the patient has been advised not to drive.

Frequently asked questions for those interested in volunteering

I am interested in volunteering, how do I apply?

Contact the Volunteer Driver Service at the Irish Cancer Society by calling Laura on (01) 231 0594 or emailing travel@irishcancer.ie and we will send you an application form. The requirements of the volunteer role are that you must have a valid email address; a roadworthy car; valid insurance / NCT / driving licence; be willing to commit to a minimum of 2-3 days per month (Mon-Fri); agree to attend annual Support & Supervision sessions.

Are volunteers vetted? 

Yes, volunteers are interviewed, trained, garda checked, reference checked (x 2) and their documentation is collected (driving licence, NCT, etc) and attached to their record. There are also asked to attend one Support and Supervision session annually.

Are volunteer expenses paid?

Yes, we offer to pay all fuel costs, road tolls and we offer €8 towards subsistence.

What happens if the client requires assistance getting in/out of the car?

If the client requires assistance getting in and out of the car, they will need to bring a companion with them. Our drivers are not trained in manual handling and as such are not permitted to lift a client. 

As a driver, how long will I have to wait for the client's treatment to be completed? 

Treatment times can vary hugely and the driver cannot accompany the patient into their appointment. As a driver we ask that you keep that day as flexible as possible and that you make plans to keep yourself occupied while the client is receiving  treatment. You could visit relations or friends, go shopping or play nine holes of golf!

Do I get many calls a month? I have other volunteer activities that I’m involved in

Contact-wise, we are an interactive, communicative lot in the office so expect to be in contcat with us regularly (or more specifically, we'll be in contact with you!). You can expect an email every day (Mon - Fri) with our list of drives for three days time, sometimes two email if we're stuck. Although we ask that drivers give us their availability on their application form (eg. every second Thursday, fully flexible etc), the main purpose of the service is to get the patient to the hospital so we might still call. However, if you can't do a drive just say 'No'. As drivers are not partnered to particular patient's, drivers dictate their availability to us and we are fully flexible around that.   

Frequently asked questions about the Volunteer Driver Service for hospitals

We are a hospital that is interested in offering this service. How do we go about it?

We partner with a number of hospitals every year to roll out the service. If a hospital is interested in applying then they must contact Gail on 01 2310 566 or email gflinter@irishcancer.ie

What criteria does the hospital have to have to be eligible? 

Each hospital is different and we look at all hospitals on an individual basis. The main responsibility of the hospital is for the nurses and / or social workers to agree to send in referrals on behalf of patient's. As all patient referrals come through our partner hospitals, we ask that the partner hospital sign an agreement to that effect.  

Need more information about the Volunteer Driver Service? Visit our Volunteer Driver Service landing page or call the Volunteer Driver Service team on 01 2310 522.

Date Last Revised: 
Monday, November 9, 2015