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Fears new Worcester surgery could leave patients stranded
ELDERLY and infirm patients could be left “stranded” if bus services to a new GP surgery are not improved, a councillor claims.
St John’s House Surgery, in Bromyard Road, is relocating later this year to a state-of-the-art medical centre currently being built on the University Park at Grove Farm.
However, concerns have been raised that some patients will not be able to visit the centre as an existing bus route serving Dines Green stops in Tudor Way.
City councillor Richard Udall has called on the service to be extended to cater for patients unable to cope with walking such a distance.
But bus operator First said it was asked by Worcestershire County Council to consider extending its Dines Green service 30 to facilitate the new medical centre.
They said that when taking into consideration time allocated to operate the journey, the additional distance to travel and reliability, implementing an extension could jeopardise the “commercial performance” of the service.
A spokesman said: “Taking these factors into consideration, without further investment we are not able to facilitate this request at this time.
“To clarify, the new medical centre is only a short distance from an existing bus stop located on Tudor Way.”
But Coun Udall said: “When opened, (the centre) will be a wonderful new service for St John’s, but we must remember not everybody has access to a car and many St John’s residents are reliant on public transport.
“When medical services move to a new location, public transport links are essential.
"I have asked for the Dines Green bus service to be extended to include the new surgery, but (First) does not wish to do this.
“I am calling for the doctors, Worcestershire County Council and the bus companies to come together to find a solution.”
According to the county council, the walking distance from existing bus stops to the new health centre is roughly 200 metres.
The council is funding the installation of a pair of new bus stops near the
entrance to the new surgery on Bromyard Road that will be served by bus services leaving Worcester on the highway.
A spokesperson said once construction of the business park starts, the council will receive funding from the developer to begin implementing a “more comprehensive” bus service that will go in to the site itself.
Coun John Smith, cabinet member for highways, said: “The county council transport team is happy to meet Coun Udall and representatives from the health centre to discuss public transport access to the new surgery.
“Any proposals must be fully funded, and clearly must not disadvantage current bus passengers by diverting services and adding to their journey times.”
Project leader and surgery GP, Dr Mark Young, said the planned public transport routes will be for all users of the site and the University of Worcester had contributed money towards providing sustainable transport routes, including new stops, as part of its planning conditions.
He said: “We appreciate these stops will not be in service immediately.
“While we ultimately do not have the authority to determine bus stop locations, we and our developers are happy to talk to Coun Udall and First Bus to discuss any possible ways forward.”
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