REDDITCH residents are facing a journey of up to five hours to get to Worcestershire Royal Hospital and back by public transport.
With the local health trust moving more and more services from Alex the announcement of the trust’s AGM, where local residents could raise their concerns, has brought the matter into sharp focus.
It’s scheduled for 5.30pm on Wednesday, September 23, at Worcestershire Royal making it a challenge for even car drivers knocking off work at 5pm to get there in time.
However for those without a car – and Redditch has the lowest rate of car ownership in the county – the journey is torturous and it’s one that anyone visiting a sick relative in the evening would have to take.
Already emergency gynaecology care has gone to Worcester, emergency A&E cases could soon follow and overnight care of children.
Neal Stote of the Save the Alex Campaign, put forward the following timetable for anyone heading for the trust’s AGM:
Taking Matchborough as a base residents would have to catch the 57 or 58 bus at 14.25pm, then nip to the station and catch a train to University at 15.12, before catching the Hereford train to Worcester Foregate Street at 15.55, walk ten minutes to the bus station and catch the 356 to Worcester Royal at 16.37 to arrive at 16.52 before walking ten minutes to the AGM at the Charles Hastings Education Centre.
Journey time: About two hours 15 minutes.
Assuming the meeting ends at 18.45 the journey would be reversed, although with an evening service it would take about two hours 30 minutes to get back home by 21.15.
The return rail fare would cost £6.60 with bus fares extra.
The 350 Redditch to Worcester bus at 16.22 is an option but with the last bus back at 17.40 that would give you ten minutes at the meeting.
Meanwhile a taxi from Redditch would cost about £28 one way and £55 for a longer wait and return.
“It’s laughable,” said Mr Stote, “it shows a complete lack of understanding – even by car it’s a challenge, the trust asks people to come but in reality they can’t.”
A spokesperson for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We change the location of our AGM every year, to allow different people across the county a chance to attend. We are aware of the concerns about public transport links. A working group to look at how transport between our hospitals could be improved has been established.”
Anyone who does want to go to the AGM should contact email@example.com by Wednesday, September 9 to book a place.