Following the news that the Health Shuttle to Lister Hospital could be withdrawn, local MP Grant Shapps wrote to the Chief Executive of the NHS Trust on 1st October, to make clear his opposition to the proposed change.
The difficulty those in Welwyn Hatfield face going up to Lister Hospital following the downgrading of the QEII, has been a fundamental driving force behind the MP’s ‘MakeHealthcareLocal’ campaign.
The Trust has attempted to justify the service’s withdrawal on grounds that it is used by a small number of people and runs at a loss.
Commenting on the proposal Grant said: “As soon I heard that the shuttle was potentially being scrapped, I immediately wrote to Nick Carver, the Chief Exec of the Hospital Trust, making clear my objection to the proposal. While I can understand the argument that the service is not being fully utilised, the Trust clearly are failing to recognise that the shuttle is used by some of the most vulnerable people in Welwyn Hatfield. These are people who for physical or financial reasons literally cannot get public or private transport, and so have no other option but the shuttle.
“Moreover, I find it amazing that the Trust is seeking to justify scrapping the service on the grounds that £160,000 could be saved. This is the same Trust which reports state has just been landed with a £7m bill to fix the bungled patient record IT system it introduced last year. If savings do need to be made, the Trust clearly needs to look at sorting out its own administration, rather than cutting vital services for my constituents.”