A lift for hospital patients

PUBLISHED: 13:21 21 September 2006 | UPDATED: 10:54 06 May 2010

Pictured are John Wood (left), director of environment at Hertfordshire County Council; Julie Lowe (centre), director of operations at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, Jane Leaming, Health Shuttle co-ordinator, and Health Shuttle users  Mary and Ma

Pictured are John Wood (left), director of environment at Hertfordshire County Council; Julie Lowe (centre), director of operations at East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, Jane Leaming, Health Shuttle co-ordinator, and Health Shuttle users Mary and Ma

THE ailing finances of the local NHS are a big headache but there is something for patients which is in the best of health. A special bus service based at Lister Hospital is proving to be a runaway success which has attracted record usage. The Health Shut

THE ailing finances of the local NHS are a big headache but there is something for patients which is in the best of health.

A special bus service based at Lister Hospital is proving to be a runaway success which has attracted record usage.

The Health Shuttle has already notched up its 13,000th passenger so far this year - 3,000 more than during the nine months it operated last year.

The service has also just been expanded from two vehicles to five to cover the Bedfordshire borders as well as Stevenage, Hitchin, Letchworth GC and Baldock.

Designed to help patients, visitors and staff get to and from the hospital in ease and comfort, the Health Shuttle was the only service of its type in the country when it was launched in April 2005.

"This unique service is proving to be very popular," said John Wood, director of environment with Herts County Council.

"Providing an alternative form of door to door transport takes all the worry out of keeping hospital appointments and is a help for more vulnerable people and those living in rural areas."

The shuttle bus has been developed in partnership with the East and North Hertforshire NHS Trust.

Its director of operations, Julie Lowe, said: "Despite the financial pressures currently being experienced in the Trust, we are still very keen to support such a vital service which provides valuable transport to and from the hospital for patients, staff and visitors."

A regular Health Shuttle user, Mary Lawrence from Stevenage, said: "It has been such a great help. I use an electric wheelchair and having the shuttle to and from the hospital takes the stress and worry of the journey away. My husband and I have always found all the shuttle staff very helpful and professional."

The shuttle service is being supported by Herts Travellink - the travel information service developed by Hertfordshire councils, health bodies, voluntary groups and other agencies in the county - to provide one point of contact for people wanting travel information.

For more information about the Lister Health Shuttle, call 01438 726219.

To find out how Herts Travellink can help, call 01438 737250 or visit www.hertslink.org/travellink

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