Ac­cess to hos­pi­tals is ‘harder than ever’

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Camilla Good­man

PA­TIENTS in Bucks are find­ing it more dif­fi­cult than ever to ac­cess hos­pi­tal ser­vices, an in­de­pen­dent con­sumer group says.

Healthwatch Bucks car­ried out a re­port into travel and trans­port to med­i­cal ap­point­ments in the county, and spoke to 416 peo­ple about their ex­pe­ri­ences of trav­el­ling to the ap­point­ments.

The re­port’s main find­ings re­vealed:

About 80 per cent of peo­ple had not heard of any of the trans­port op­tions and schemes that are avail­able;

Park­ing was a ma­jor is­sue. Some re­spon­dents ar­rived up to an hour be­fore their ap­point­ments just to en­sure they could find a park­ing space;

Over a quar­ter of peo­ple with no ac­cess to a car had a prob­lem with get­ting to ap­point­ments when re­ly­ing on public trans­port, in par­tic­u­lar bus ser­vices;

Those liv­ing in ru­ral and ur­ban com­mu­ni­ties need fur­ther help, more/ bet­ter pub­li­cised trans­port op­tions.

To en­sure as many pa­tients as pos­si­ble had their voices heard, Healthwatch Bucks com­mis­sioned Com­mu­nity Im­pact Bucks to un­der­take com­mu­nity en­gage­ment ses­sions.

Many re­spon­dents had is­sues with the lack of park­ing spa­ces and high park­ing charges at Wy­combe, Stoke Man­dev­ille, Amer­sham and Wex­ham Park hos­pi­tals.

Pro­ject man­ager Vic­to­ria Young, said: “It ap­pears that peo­ple in Bucks are find­ing it more dif­fi­cult than ever be­fore to ac­cess hos­pi­tal ser­vices. For many res­i­dents in Bucks the stress, anx­i­ety and cost as­so­ci­ated with get­ting to their ap­point­ments has be­come a ma­jor is­sue.”

Che­sham coun­cil­lor Derek Lacey regularly has med­i­cal ap­point­ments and sup­ported the re­port’s find­ings. He said: “I to­tally agree. Park­ing at hos­pi­tals is get­ting ridicu­lous, even the dis­abled have to pay, they’re charg­ing ev­ery­one and it’s not like it goes back on the pa­tients. I think it’s dis­gust­ing that you have to pay to be ill.

“The bus ser­vices are di­a­bol­i­cal, es­pe­cially if you want to get to Stoke Man­dev­ille from Che­sham, it’s ter­ri­ble.

“Bucks County Coun­cil should be look­ing at this – enough peo­ple have been com­plain­ing about it for years now.”

To read the full re­port, visit www.healthwatch

Do you find it dif­fi­cult to get to your med­i­cal ap­point­ments? Email buck­snews@trin­i­tysouth. with your views.

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