Hospital lifeline safe for a year

THE Health Shuttle has been saved. Last week The Comet reported how plans were afoot to scrap the service, which became operational in April 2005 to ferry the elderly and vulnerable to and from Lister Hospital, because it had lost its funding from the Dep

THE Health Shuttle has been saved.

Last week The Comet reported how plans were afoot to scrap the service, which became operational in April 2005 to ferry the elderly and vulnerable to and from Lister Hospital, because it had lost its funding from the Department for Transport's Rural Challenge Grant.

We received numerous letters from concerned shuttle users telling us that it was a lifeline for them, and that they would be devastated if the service was to end.

But now an agreement has been reached by Hertfordshire County Council, the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust and the East of England Ambulance Service to keep the service running for at least one more year.


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County councillor Stuart Pile, executive member for highways, transport and rural affairs, said: "We hope that the service will become self sufficient within the next year and become a permanent feature of the Lister Hospital.

"Prices are likely to increase so that this can be achieved, but we feel that it's better to make a small compromise so that we can continue this service which is essential to so many people."

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Elizabeth Draper, who recently wrote to The Comet to voice her disappointment that the service was ending, said it was fantastic news.

Mrs Draper, of Bedford Road, Hitchin, said: "That is really good to hear. A lot of people including me rely on that service.

"I attend the hospital a lot and the alternative is to get two buses. The first one is to get me into Hitchin and the second bus is from Hitchin to the hospital.

"The shuttle goes straight through to the hospital and I don't have to wait around in the cold weather for the second bus.

"I don't mind paying that little bit more for the convenience of travelling on just the one bus. It's fantastic news.

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