East Sussex County Council agreed to start talks on a shuttle bus between the Eastbourne DGH and the Conquest hospital ,but stopped short at providing funding.
The shuttle bus was discussed at the council’s full council meeting on Tuesday, after a motion from John Ungar, who is a member of ESCC and Eastbourne Borough Council.
He urged ESCC to provide funding towards a shuttle bus as part of its public health and transport responsibilities.
There was a long debate on the matter, with many councillors agreeing a service needed to be provided.
But the council stopped short at agreeing to fund a bus service.
An officer’s report said, “Due to the financial pressures ESCC is currently facing, it is recommended that the county council reject the motion on the basis that the ESCC cannot commit to funding new additional public transport’.
The report said ‘it is unlikely that a shuttle bus linking the two hospitals would be commercially viable’.
However, it did say one bus company would consider running a service with funding or sponsorship.
An amended motion which was agreed by councillors, said the council would work with relevant authorities to try and come up with a way of providing a shuttle bus between the hospitals.
These ‘relevant authorities’ include the East Sussex Healthcare Trust, the CCGs, Eastbourne Borough Council and Hastings Borough Council.
Cllr Ungar said, “I want this to move forward urgently.”
Now the council is set to ‘facilitate’ talks between these organisations, to come up with a plan for a shuttle bus.
Councillors also said it is important to make sure it comes up with a service which the public will use.
In the discussion, Cllr Jeremy Birch said the council needed to discuss what kind of service patients want ‘to make sure we’re giving support and backing a service which really meets the need’.
Meads resident Nicky Moray, echoed this sentiment, and told the Gazette, “I think, like me, most people live outside the town centre.
“One would therefore have to journey to the centre, then take another bus to the DGH before getting the shuttle bus.
“Would it not be more convenient if a bus ran from the town centre, from the railway station for example?”
Lead member for resources, Cllr David Elkin said the council would work with other authorities to find a solution which addresses the need for a shuttle bus.
He said he would report back to the council in three months’ time.