Agenda and minutes

Health Policy and Performance Board
Thursday, 3rd September, 2009 6.30 p.m.

Venue: Council Chamber, Runcorn Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Lynn Derbyshire on 0151 471 7389 or e-mail 

No. Item


Proposed bus charges for North Cheshire Hospital Trust

A discussion will take place relating to the proposed bus charges for North Cheshire Hospital Trust.


The Board received a verbal presentation from Catherine Beardshaw, Chief Executive of Warrington and Haltons Hospitals NHS Trust and Mr A Massey regarding the proposed charges to the shuttle bus service between Warrington Hospital and Halton General Hospital.


The Board was advised by Ms Beardshaw that the free hospital shuttle bus service for patients and staff had been trialled for a period of nine months and as a result in the increase in demand a new larger bus had been leased and had been in operation for a year.  However, due to an increase in pressure on the service, at peak periods, staff had experienced difficulties in gaining access to the bus between the two sites. 


The Board was further advised that as part of the Trust’s financial plan, consideration had been given to charging certain groups of people for this service.  Patients and staff, children under 16 years of age or any one else with a free bus pass would continue to receive a free service, but all other categories of people would be asked to pay £2 per single journey.  In addition, it was reported that the Trust had kept their promise made in 2006 in  providing a free service between the two sites to staff and patients.


In response to the proposal to charge visitors to use the hospital shuttle bus between Warrington and Halton Hospitals, Members of the Board raised the following questions/comments:-


·        Members raised concern that a decision to charge visitors on the hospital shuttle bus had been made by the Trust without any consultation with them and clarity was sought on who had been consulted;


In response, it was reported that the Trust were not obliged to consult on issues outside the original promise i.e that patients and staff would receive the service free, and it was merely a new approach. In addition it was suggested that a year ago, during a one to one informal meeting with the Chief Executive of Halton Borough Council the pressures on the service had been raised.


Members in reply indicated that the Chief Executive had stated that charges had not been raised or discussed at the informal meeting, merely that it had been mentioned that the bus service was experiencing capacity pressures.


·        It was emphasised that there had been an understanding that visitors would travel free on the bus and to date this had been the case.  It was also emphasised that Elected Members should have been consulted on this matter as they only found out via a press article.  It was also highlighted that the bus was mainly for people who did not have access to private transport and that there was no public transport available between the two sites. 


·        It was reported that information on the Trust’s website was misleading as it stated that there was a free bus for people visiting Warrington and Halton hospitals, and the new larger bus had been launched last year with full wheel chair and disabled access.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.