Larger bus is providing link for hospitals

The 25-seater minibus transporting patients between the Friarage Hospital  and James Cook University Hospital.
The 25-seater minibus transporting patients between the Friarage Hospital and James Cook University Hospital.
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A larger bus is now in operation for people travelling between the Friarage Hospital in Northallerton and James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.

Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby Clinical Commissioning Group (HRW CCG) introduced a seven-seater minibus – which is free to travel on – in October 2014 as part of a six-month pilot scheme following changes to children’s and maternity services at the Friarage.

Now, following further funding from HRW CCG, it has been replaced with a 25-seater which will operate on the service until the pilot scheme’s end on March 31.

The bus is available to use for hospital patients and their families, and staff – not just for those accessing children’s and maternity services.

Dr Charles Parker, Topcliffe GP and HRW CCG Governing Body member, said: “We know from the consultation regarding children’s and maternity services at the Friarage that transport links is a significant issue for local people.

“We want to make sure there is a large enough shuttle bus in operation to meet demand. We’ve invested a couple of thousand pounds more per month to ensure this is possible.”

The bus, operated by Proctors Coach Hire, of Leeming Bar, travels between the two hospitals ten times a day, and is available Monday to Friday only (excluding public holidays). The full timetable is available at http://southtees.nhs.uk/hospitals/friarage/changes/travel/

During the pilot period the service is being monitored for usage and benefits to parents and other relatives and the information will be used to determine how the service will look in the future. The bus does not affect access to patient transport services for those people who are eligible.