Journeys to hospital are burdening older people


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Age UK

Painful Journeys

Journeys made to the hospital by elderly people are often painful and uncomfortable. We worked with Age UK on a film to raise awareness of this issue and urge the government to enact change.


New research from Age UK reveals that people aged 65 and over will make on average 24 medical trips per year, yet more than 1.6 million over 65s find it difficult to get to and from hospital appointments. Whether hospital-arranged or public transport, the travel options available for many do not serve their needs. Age UK asked us to create a film that would spark conversation.


We wanted to emphasise how long, complex and arduous these journeys could be for elderly patients. Our strategy was to provide viewers with a frame of reference that they could relate to, as the issue can sometimes be minimised by those that haven’t experienced it directly. To do this, we came up with the 'painful race' format. The film contrasts the journeys of Peter, an elderly patient completing his typical route to the hospital, and Sam – who we dropped in the middle of nowhere with no help or assistance. Two people, travelling to the same hospital from equal starting distances – with very different outcomes.


Through the 'Painful Journeys' campaign, Age UK successfully raised awareness of the problems older people face, highlighting just how difficult their journeys can be when attending routine hospital appointments. The film was released to coincide with the government’s subsequent announcement of a national review of the NHS patient transport service – it will be used to foster understanding and awareness around the issue while it is in the spotlight.