Eastbourne hospital travel: ‘Incredibly worrying’ survey results are revealed

A survey launched as part of a campaign from the Herald and MP for Eastbourne looking at the need for a hospital shuttle bus has come to an end and results are in.

Monday, 22nd November 2021, 2:34 pm

Currently healthcare services are spread across the DGH, Hastings Conquest and Bexhill Hospital which means Eastbourne residents can be asked to travel to get to their appointments.

There is no public transport service that directly connects the sites which triggered the campaign.

Eastbourne DGH

Now the survey period has come to an end and the 207 responses can be looked at to decide the next steps to be made.

Results revealed the following:

1. People are spending two hours each way to get to appointments when using the bus. Paying for a taxi or driving privately took 30–40 minutes each way, something that could increase depending on traffic.

2. In terms of money, people said it cost them £50 each way for a taxi with no fixed fares in place. In one case someone with two appointments every six weeks spent £1,000 on travel in a year.

3. Some 40 people missed appointments due to travel problems, and 70 people had to reschedule.

4. More than 100 of the people who responded qualified for a bus pass/travel related benefits, but only 23 use the bus.

5. Nearly half of the respondents don’t have a car.

6. Some 128 people either drive/are driven by others, 26 take taxis, 21 take the train and then have to get a bus/taxi from the station, and 23 take the bus.

Overall, 91.75 per cent of respondents ‘strongly agreed’ that an affordable shuttle bus system should be put in place.

One respondent said, “It was very, very difficult for me to visit her. Buses were the only way to get to see her which took over five hours out of my day to see her.”

Another said, “We have been lucky a couple times, I’ve got lifts there but the rest we have had to get a taxi and when we do that we lose our food shopping money to do so.”

One person said travelling by public transport caused them ‘too much pain and discomfort’ due to the stop/start nature of bus rides.

A train to Hastings being cancelled meant that another respondent missed their connecting bus to their appointment.

After looking at these results, Mrs Ansell said, “I would like to say thank you to everyone who took the time to complete the survey. It is really important that I know what the situation is on the ground and day-to-day for those who need to travel to other hospitals in the trust for their treatment or to support and visit others.

“It is also important that the trust knows too and I will be sharing my findings with them. They want to know.

“Some of the comments have been incredibly worrying to read. No-one should be taking money from their food budget to travel to a hospital appointment and no-one should be missing appointments.”

Mrs Ansell will now meet with the Herald and stakeholders to discuss results and work out what the next steps will be.