After my bus trip from High Wycombe to Stoke Mandeville hospital, I wrote to Anne Eden, Chief Executive of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, outlining my reflections on the journey.
Here are elements of Ms. Eden’s reply:
Improving the transport infrastructure within the county requires cooperation between many organisations not least the County Council, Highways Agency and local commercial providers and we are working closely with all three partners to improve access to our hospitals regardless of the Better Healthcare in Bucks consultation.
Since last year, we have worked with Arriva Buses to offer free transport between our three main hospitals sites for all patients, visitors and staff. This agreement was established in response to complaints about our own shuttle bus services, which did not run as frequently, stop en-route, accommodate enough people or support those with mobility issues. The agreement with Arriva has meant larger, more comfortable buses, running far more frequently across seven days a week; it has also allowed new routes to be introduced. We would not have been able to offer this level if services to people using our own NHS monies.
As you point out, there are some improvements that can still be made to the 300 bus services and the Stoke Mandeville Hospital grounds itself…We are currently working with Bucks County Council on an application for retail premises at Stoke Mandeville. This will enable considerable highway improvements on the surrounding roads, such as pedestrian crossings…In addition, we are in discussions with the County Council about shared operator bus stops on the site and more convenient bus stops.
In light of our expressed concern and in an effort to improve the original timetable, Arriva have agreed to increase the frequency of service to every 15 minutes and extending the timetabled day. This is currently being trialled as bringing the 300 service on site has the potential scheduling effect of negating any improvements made through increased frequency of buses.
As part of our site reconfiguration plans, we will be improving footpaths and signage to offsite locations over the next few months before any proposed service changes occur. We are also looking to re-orientate our car parks to bring people closer to our main entrance.
I have already received some correspondendence explaining that I was on one of the better buses but I would be grateful for any further comments from constituents below.