CALLS for a bus stop to be installed outside a new doctors surgery in Worcester have been rejected despite patients being forced to walk hundreds of yards down a busy road.
Coun Richard Udall has been working tirelessly for the past 18 months to get the number 30 bus route extended to St John’s House Medical Centre, which opened its doors earlier this year.
The St John’s councillor said he had received a number of complaints from patients who claimed they had to walk about 500 metres to get to the surgery. Coun Udall also told the Observer a considerable amount of people have decided to leave the practice due to its location.
“The reality for most people is that they have to cross four lanes of traffic to get to the surgery and they are finding it incredibly difficult and dangerous to do so,” he said.
“I have had people speak to me who are stroke victims and simply aren’t able to drive, but need to go for regular check ups.
“People are frustrated, angry and upset. They feel the service to get to see a doctor is no longer available to them if they don’t have a car. They feel penalised and discriminated against.”
Coun Udall said he has made several calls to First Bus, which runs the service, Worcestershire County Council and the medical centre to take action, but to no avail.
“I have worked for 18 months on this and I have even offered to use my county councillors’ division fund to support a pilot scheme to demonstrate how profitable it could be, but that has been rejected, so everything which is within my power to try and do has been thrown back at me,” he added.
“I think the easiest option would be for First Bus to slightly extend their Dines Green service to include the centre. Even if that means a slight change to the timetable to incorporate it, but they have declined to do that.”
Steve Zanker, general manager at First Bus, told the Observer a change to the route would inconvenience a number of people who regularly use the service.
Coun John Smith, cabinet member for highways at Worcestershire County Council, added: “The travel plan submitted within the planning application for the surgery relocation agreed that public transport access for visitors via the bus stops on Tudor Way, which are around 200 metres away, was acceptable and falls well within the guidance from Government, which recommends walking distances of no more than 400 metres.
However, as the surgery is part of the University of Worcester’s University Park development, Coun Smith said they were creating plans with the operator to provide comprehensive access by public transport in the future.