With any changes to services one of the biggest concerns is travel. We know from conversations with the public both before and during the public consultation that people are concerned about how they will reach hospital services as a result of any future changes.
Before the consultation we commissioned an independent review of travel and transport. The review has looked at the following aspects of travel and transport:
- the current level of availability of public transport, including frequency, hours of operation, variety of routes between (South Tyneside District Hospital and Sunderland Royal Hospital
- levels of access to public and private transport and the barriers to access
- how patients, staff and others currently travel to access services
- how much travel already happens from one area to another
- the cost of public transport
- parking arrangements, capacity, use and costs at the hospital sites, including any concessions already in existence
- patient transport access criteria and take up
- review of community interest transport or volunteer transport arrangements, for example dial a ride
- national and local NHS policies for providing assistance for travel
- review of existing travel and transport policy for both trusts – for patients, carers and staff
- information about what other organisations have done to improve access following reconfiguration of services
- the practical challenges of travelling between the two areas
These reports are available in the detailed information section of the website: https://pathtoexcellence.org.uk/information/
Potential measures to reduce the impact on people travelling.
The independent report suggested different measures that could help reduce the travel impacts of the proposed service changes, which include:
- ensuring patients and visitors have accurate, up to date information about their travel choices, including public transport information, and are aware of journey planning tools and facilities
- ensuring patients and visitors have accurate information about parking choices and costs
- providing patients with information about schemes that offer assistance with travel costs
- providing travel information with appointment letters
- promoting the existing policy of allowing patients to schedule appointment times that ease their travel arrangements
- introducing improved bus services serving the two hospitals sites
Through the consultation to date the public have helped us understand the risks in relation to travel and transport and what might be needed to mitigate some of these risks.
As a result, we’ve been able to collate their issues and concerns as well as comments and ideas for solutions, and this has been extremely helpful to start the wider discussion with those organisations directly involved in travel and transport.
At a dedicated travel and transport stakeholder event held on 11th October 2017 there was universal support on the need to establish new partnerships to tackle these issues together.
People attending agreed to create two new working groups – one to specifically around NHS issues such as clinical transport, ambulances, car parking and a second group to focus on public transport such as bus, metro, interchanges and ticketing.
- NHS organisations
- North East Ambulance Service
- Sunderland City Council
- South Tyneside Council
- Elected members
- Health Watch Sunderland and South Tyneside
- Tyne and Wear public transport service users group
- Bus operators – Go North East, Stagecoach
Issues raised by the public include concern about travel costs, access to parking on hospital sites and additional pressure on ambulance services. Ideas to help include better information about what help with travel and transport is already available, improving bus connections and introducing direct bus routes between sites.
All issues and ideas to date have been collated and are published below.
Read the media release from after the event: NHS travel and transport organisations vow work together respond public concerns raised around future NHS changes
View the issues and ideas log: Travel and transport issues and ideas log October 2017 v2
View the event presentation: Path to Excellence stakeholder travel event
Stakeholder videos: Available Tuesday 17th October 2017
The Path to Excellence NHS organisations would like to thank everyone who attended the event as there was a clear willingness from everyone to work together in the best interests of the local communities we serve.