“BBC investigates rural hospital transport”

“Broadcast on Friday (30 March), the whole episode of BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today programme on Friday (30 March) examined the issue of hospital transport.

The programme details the impact of large-scale cuts on bus services since the introduction of austerity measures.

At the same time, medical services have been increasingly concentrated in ‘centres of excellence’ in towns and cities, with few specialist facilities available in local community hospitals.

Rural Services Network chief executive Graham Biggs told the programme more and more services were being centralised into larger towns.

“Accessing those services is increasingly difficult whilst at the same time public transport is being reduced,” said Mr Biggs.

It was true there was a shortage of medical specialists but something had to be done around accessibility – whether via public transport or some other means, he said.

Patients in rural areas needing to use public transport to get to hospital often faced painfully long journey times, reported the programme.

Presenter Emma Campbell travelled to hospital with a listener called Sandra, who has to take three buses in each direction to get from her home in Somerset to her appointment in Bath.

Sandra faced a travel time of over three hours each way, for a 10 minute appointment – a situation which was “not uncommon at all” for rural residents, said Mr Biggs.

The programme also heard from representatives of Age UK’s ‘Painful Journeys’ campaign, who also explained the extent of the problem in rural areas.

The full programme can be heard by clicking here

(available until 28 pril 2018)

One thought on ““BBC investigates rural hospital transport”

  1. Listened to the programme; I wrote to Prime Minister’s office last November in which I referred to this serious problem for rural communities. I stated that it was discrimination against rural communities; Prime Minister, Government, Tory Party do not care a jot about this issue. They are in total denial about this and other serious difficulties with the NHS and rural areas.


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