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Campaigners launch petition to keep free CCG-funded shuttle bus running

Campaigners launch petition to keep free CCG-funded shuttle bus running

No decision has been made over the future of a free CCG-funded shuttle bus that ferries patients and staff between two north east hospitals
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No decision has been made over the future of a free CCG-funded shuttle bus that ferries patients and staff between two north east hospitals.

A petition has been launched over concerns about the future of the shuttle service between the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton and the James Cook University Hospital 22 miles away in Middlesbrough.

Janet Probert, the chief officer of NHS Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby CCG said no decision has been made over the future of the 25-seater bus.

It was launched as a pilot on October 2014. It is funded by the CCG which runs it in partnership with the South Leeds NHS Foundation Trust.

In March last year the CCGs said it was carrying 200 passengers a week, a three-fold increase on the amount in November 2014.

The bus runs between the two hospitals ten times a day on weekdays.

The pilot was initially extended until March this year and was further extended until the end of April.

Campaigners claim the future of the shuttle service is in the balance.

They launched a petition on change.org which has been signed by more than 800 people.

It said: “This bus is such a vital link between the two sites for the people of this town, the elderly, people with children, people who can’t drive, whether it be for an appointment or visiting a sick relative these people need this bus.”

Probert said: “Although transport is not a core service for the CCG to commission, we know from recent public engagement how valued this particular service is by pour local population – particularly for patients and trust staff travelling between The Friarage Hospital in Northallerton and James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.”

The CCG and trust were continuing to evaluate the service and no decision had been made about extending the shuttle service, she said.

“We appreciate that during this time, some confusion and anxiety has been felt by users of the service.”

She said the bus would run as normal until a formal decision is made.

“We are and continue to be committed to engaging with our population before making any formal decision in regard to services,” Probert added.

Click here to see the petition

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