Group lacked funds to contribute to service

Councillors, health forum members and transport manager David Boden (back) on the new shuttle bus provided by HART Community Transport.
Councillors, health forum members and transport manager David Boden (back) on the new shuttle bus provided by HART Community Transport.

The East Riding Clinical Commissioning Group has been criticised for refusing to allocate any funding to the new trial for the hospital shuttle bus.

The shuttle bus service, which travels between Scarborough and Bridlington hospital sites, was due to end on Sunday July 17, after the Scarborough and Ryedale Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said it could no longer fund the service due to the lack of passengers from their area using it.

Now, the Scarborough and Ryedale CCG has linked up with York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, East Riding Council and Bridlington Town Council to run a 12-week paid-for trial period to see if the shuttle bus can be self-financed.

Despite around 90 per cent of passengers coming from the Bridlington area, The East Riding Clinical Commissioning Group refused to allocate any funding to the trial service, a move that has been condemned in the town.

A Bridlington Town Council spokesman said: “We are very disappointed that the East Riding Clinical Commissioning Group have refused to allocate any funding to the trial service and resolved to contact that organisation to convey the council’s disappointment considering the importance of this service to the area. The town council would like to thank Mr David Boden from the East Riding of Yorkshire Council’s transport services department for his work with this matter.”

The views were echoed by secretary of Bridlington Health Forum Jean Wormwell who said: “It is very sad that the East Riding CCG cannot help fund a vital service for the people of area. However, the shuttle bus has now been given a lifeline which we are very much grateful for in Bridlington. I’m sure the residents will now get behind the service and do all we can in making this permanent.”

The new service will begin on Monday July 18 and will be a paid-for service. Passengers will be charged £4 for a single or £5 for a return journey.

Residents have shown their support to keep the service with more than 3,000 signatures from the Free Press petition, in conjunction with Bridlington Town Council and West Hill Community Centre.

Jane Hawkard, chief officer, NHS East Riding of Yorkshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We have been in discussions with a number of stakeholder groups to help facilitate alternative solutions for the future funding of the service. The CCG faces a challenging financial year ahead as levels of costs and demand for services increase more rapidly than increases in our funding. We have made no provision within our health and care budget for patient transport funding over and above the 999 and Patient Transport Services currently commissioned and we are not in a position to act as guarantor for the new pilot. We very much hope the pilot is successful and the service is ultimately able to fund itself.”