Hospital shuttle bus plans stall again

Eastbourne District General Hospital
Eastbourne District General Hospital

A councillor who has been campaigning for a shuttle bus between the Eastbourne DGH and Conquest hospital said he was ‘aghast’ that nothing is being done to make it happen.

John Ungar, who is a councillor at East Sussex County Council and Eastbourne Borough Council, said since changes to services between the hospitals, a shuttle bus should be provided.

This had received such wide support across the county, particularly in Eastbourne

He took the matter to the county council in December, asking for something to be done to provide a shuttle bus for patients and staff moving between the hospitals.

The lead member for resources said the council could not pay for such a service, and passed it onto the lead member for transport.

It was decided the council would ‘facilitate’ talks between the East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust (ESHT), councils and bus companies, but said it was ultimately a matter for ESHT.

But at a recent transport meeting Cllr Ungar was disappointed to hear plans for a shuttle bus were no further ahead.

Cllr Ungar said, “All they said they had done is spoken to the bus companies and to ESHT. They have not done anything.

“This had received such wide support across the county particularly in Eastbourne. I think people will be aghast to hear they are refusing to put more resources into it.

“It is beyond belief. I am astounded. Nothing is happening.

“It sends a message out to the partners that the county council does not give it a high priority so why should our partners give it a high priority.

“I am trying to actually achieve something.”

He said he believed money from on-street parking received by the county council, and from ESHT from its hospital parking, could be put towards a shuttle bus.

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

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

The outcome of the transport meeting on February 23 was to continue to hold talks between relevant parties, but stopped short at providing funding.