Health chiefs are calling on north-east residents to help out as volunteer drivers and free up much-needed space at hospitals.
People are being sought to safely ferry vulnerable patients to and from hospital.
The region-wide appeal has been issued again after an initial plea was made in December.
With the winter period further stretching NHS resources, the health board has stressed how vital community transport is to helping those travelling to health and social care appointments.
Volunteer efforts have helped take the strain off NHS staff during the pandemic and this latest recruitment drive seeks to attract drivers with their own vehicle – though one can be provided if necessary.
Health and transport action plan programme manager, Andrew Stewart, said: “The flow of patients in and out of hospital over winter is of critical importance to managing the capacity of the NHS and helping people home safely.”
A biennial awards ceremony was held last year to highlight how essential volunteer efforts are to the region’s NHS.
Mr Stewart said the efforts made by a small army of unsung heroes had served as a “lifeline” to many.
Managed by the Royal Voluntary Service, the efforts would be focused on supporting NHS and its Patient Transport Service – and individuals may also be deployed to other community transport organisations.
Those involved would receive full training and a risk assessment, as well as reimbursement of costs incurred. People interested have been instructed to call 01467 536111 or email email@example.com