Council urged to provide hospital shuttle bus

Eastbourne patients are increasingly travelling to The Conquest Hospital in Hastings
Eastbourne patients are increasingly travelling to The Conquest Hospital in Hastings
  • Call for link between EDGH and The Conquest in Hastings
  • Councillor ‘aghast’ plans are no further forward
  • ‘Council has responsibility to secure a transport system’

Pressure is mounting for a shuttle bus between hospitals, and now the Campaign for Better Transport – East Sussex has spoken out.

Last week councillor John Ungar, who is a member of East Sussex County Council (ESCC) and Eastbourne Borough Council, said not enough is being done by the county council to get the wheels into motion for transport between the Eastbourne DGH and Conquest. This comes after the council said in December that it would ‘facilitate talks’ between organisations, but could not fund a scheme.

However Cllr Ungar said he was ‘aghast’ that plans for a shuttle bus were no further ahead.

Derrick Coffee of the Campaign for Better Transport, said, “ESCC, as statutory transport authority, has a responsibility to secure a transport system which meets the key accessibility needs of all of its constituents, not just those with access to a car.

“That includes public transport links to major hospitals for the communities which depend on the services provided. It has absolutely failed. The reorganisation of clinical services was known well before its inception.

“Over a year after that, there is still no effective public transport link to Hastings Conquest and Eastbourne District General hospitals from Eastbourne, Hastings, Bexhill and surrounding areas – a population of well over a quarter of a million. This often results in major expense for patients and their visitors for taxis; inappropriate use of ambulances as taxis; increased essential transport of staff – and widespread frustration.

“As the strategic transport authority for the county, we strongly believe that ESCC is wrong to load the East Sussex Health Trust with responsibility to provide access to major hospitals from their communities.”

However East Sussex County Council stood its ground, and a spokesman said, “Access to new centralised primary health provision is a matter for the hospital trust and not something we can support financially.

“We are working with relevant authorities and partners to facilitate a new shuttle bus service and discussions are ongoing.”