Fresh calls for shuttle between hospitals

Eastbourne District General Hospital
Eastbourne District General Hospital

A county councillor is putting a shuttle bus between the Conquest Hospital in Hastings and Eastbourne District General Hospital back on the agenda.

East Sussex County Council transport committee member Michael Pursglove is calling for the transport project after services were centralised between the two hospitals last year.

The council says it cannot afford a new bus route and it is the NHS Trusts’ responsibility – but they disagree.

The UKIP councillor believes patients and employees need the shuttle bus because they need services in both hospitals and currently there is no public transport between them.

“I am concerned at the plight of those wishing to get to, or visit friends and family, at the two hospitals,” he said.

Mr Pursglove suggested the 100 and 99 buses could go via the Conquest and DGH and said it would cause no disruption to those services.

He said it would reduce car parking issues as it would be cheaper than parking.

A county council 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.”

The Campaign for Better Transport has also been calling for a shuttle bus and spokesman Derrick Coffee backs Mr Pursglove’s calls.

“The county council is a health and transport authority and it is not living up to its responsibilities,” he said.

An East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust spokesman said, “Transport is the statutory responsibility of the county council and as a trust, our primary concern is providing safe, high quality health services for the population of East Sussex. However, we are sympathetic to the issue of transport and as we have mentioned in meetings with HOSC we would be willing to engage in conservations about the different options that may be available.”

Pressure has been mounting for some time for sa service between the two hospitals.

A report in March estimated a hourly shuttle bus between the hospitals would cost £250,000 per year, running seven days a week for 18 hours a day.

However, this cost does not include income from charging fares.

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