Free buses are needed to help patients travel between hospitals in Calderdale and Kirklees, says councillor

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A Calderdale councillor has called for free shuttle buses to be provided for hospital patients in Calderdale and Kirklees.

More patients are likely to have to switch between the two hospital sites, Calderdale Royal Hospital and Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, following a service reconfiguration.

Coun Mike Barnes (Lab, Skircoat) urged Calderdale Council Leader Coun Tim Swift (Lab, Town) to push West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) and Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust to extend such a shuttle service to residents in their areas.

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Coun Barnes said the service reconfiguration involving not only how but also where services would be delivered would likely result in increased traffic between the two sites.

Calderdale Royal HospitalCalderdale Royal Hospital
Calderdale Royal Hospital

He said such an arrangement was already in place for Wakefield residents using Pinderfields hospital.

Public transport was crucial to tackling the climate emergency and should also be more cost effective given the ticket price cap introduced by West Yorkshire Mayor Tracy Brabin, with high fuel prices here to stay.

“However, access between both main sites is extremely badly served by public transport,” said Coun Barnes, with both bus and rail an issue.

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Seemingly since introduction of the ticket price cap First Bus were concentrating on more profitable, expensively priced routes between the two towns, he said.

Calderdale Council leader Coun Tim Swift (Lab, Town)Calderdale Council leader Coun Tim Swift (Lab, Town)
Calderdale Council leader Coun Tim Swift (Lab, Town)

“There is a shuttle option but this is only available to staff and the hospital trust is unable to comply with the regulations that will enable it to expand this service to cater for patients.

“We have already seen a precedent with free patient bus shuttles to Pinderfields in Wakefield and I would urge Coun Swift to join local Skircoat councillors in pushing WYCA and the hospital trust to extend the shuttle facility to cater for all the residents of Calderdale and Kirklees,” he said.

Coun Swift said he agreed a connecting service was needed between the two hospitals particularly as reorganisations were likely to increase the number of times where patients and their families needed to make that journey.

He would raise the issue with Mayor Tracy Brabin to see what could be done to put pressure on to look at this type of service.