Patients ‘going days without hospital visits’

A hospital bus run by Kimes, outside Spalding's Johnson Hospital.
A hospital bus run by Kimes, outside Spalding's Johnson Hospital.
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Concerns elderly patients at a Spalding hospital go days without visitors because of lack of public transport are no nearer a solution.

Almost a year after starting a campaign to improve the bus service from villages to Johnson Community Hospital, Holbeach hospital visitor Joan Woolard has again been asking what is being done.

In an email to “the older person’s champion” at Lincolnshire County Council, Coun Howard Johnson, Joan said: “Buses between Spalding and Boston are two-hourly and the small town services don’t go there.

“Most inpatients and outpatients are elderly and do not drive; nor do their spouses.

“Elderly inpatients can be left for days, if not weeks, without regular visits from loved ones.

“Last month, I met a man who had been there from September and hardly saw anyone from home. This is an appalling state of affairs.”

Coun Johnson has promised to take the matter forward to South Holland District Council, in the hope of investigating any Section 106 options that might be available to help part fund an improved bus service.

Simon Temple, head of clinical services at Spalding hospital, said: “When work on the hospital was first commissioned, local bus companies were approached to provide a service to the Johnson and the site was designed for a service to stop there – with a bus stop and a dedicated bus lane.

“The only local operator that felt that the service would be viable was Kimes and their No 59 service remains the only service that calls there.

“I did write to the local transport planning service to ask them if a further bus stop could be placed on the highway outside the hospital, therefore minimising disruption to routes.

“I am hopeful that this may be initiated. In summary, we await the bus companies’ decision.”