Campaigners launch patient survey in bid for new bus route to Finchley Memorial Hospital

This Is Local London: Mike Gee, chair of the Finchley Society’s environment and transport committee, with a group of survey volunteers at Finchley Memorial Hospital. Mike Gee, chair of the Finchley Society’s environment and transport committee, with a group of survey volunteers at Finchley Memorial Hospital.

Campaigners have launched a survey in the hope it will prove “once and for all” the demand for a bus route to take patients to the door of Finchley Memorial Hospital.

The Finchley Society and the Friends of Finchley Memorial Hospital are asking patients how they travel to the hospital in Granville Road, and whether they would benefit from a bus route which takes them directly to the entrance.

The nearest bus stop is currently nearly 250m away, making it difficult for some elderly and disabled people to walk to the £28million hospital.

Eighty-nine-year-old Ross Green, who helped launch the survey, said: “I get two buses to the hospital, and then I have to take the long walk from the bus stop. I have a stick and I find it quite difficult.

“Sometimes I just end up paying £5 to get a taxi but not everyone can afford that.

“The hospital was built to have the best access in the whole of north London, but it’s turned out to have the worst.”

The groups began the two-day survey yesterday and have already interviewed more than 700 people, with the hope they will reach over 1,000 by the end of today.

Mike Gee, chairman of the Finchley Society’s environment and transport committee, said: “We are expecting there will be a sizeable amount of people who are unhappy about the transport links to the hospital. It’s a very long walk from the nearest bus stop and people are constantly telling us how difficult it is.

“I personally think re-routing the 263 or 382 busses will cause a delay to travellers, and so I think a new bus link would be best. Hopefully we can sort out this problem once and for all.”

When the survey has been completed and analysed, the groups will hand it to Barnet Borough Council's health overview and scrutiny committee in the hope it will help lobby Transport for London to create a better bus link.

Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust provides some services at the hospital.

Charlie Sheldon, deputy chief nurse said: “We support any practical changes that improve accessibility for our patients. I hope a solution can be found that suits all parties and enables our patients easier access to the community health services that we provide there."

But John Barry, head of network development for TfL, said: “The hospital grounds are not currently suitable for a public bus service as there is no bus stop area, and parking and drop-off spaces would need to be removed.”

He said diverting route 382 would cost £120,000 each year and result in longer journey times for around passengers.

 

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