Royal Surrey County Hospital supports hoppa with £15k grant

The Godalming and Haslemere Hospital hoppa service, has received a grant of £15,000 from the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford. The hospital has decided to continue its support of the service which it says is vital for helping the NHS serve its local community in South West Surrey.

Nurses from the hospital recently met passengers as they arrived at the hospital and learned more about how the service serves as a lifeline to the people who use it.

“Hoppa is such an important service to our patients and to us at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. Getting patients to appointments safely and comfortably, on time every time is absolutely key to helping us manage their care and to make sure that they are getting the right treatment. By helping to fund hoppa we are helping the hospital to run more efficiently and investing in patient care at the same time,” says Louise Stead Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Surrey County Hospital.

As well as the impact on patients, missed appointments are a drain on NHS resources. Louise Stead adds: “Missed appointments waste money and staff resources as well as affecting waiting times so we focus on doing what we can to make sure patients can make it on time to our appointments.”

Hoppa runs a fleet of buses across the borough of Waverley. Services include the Hospital Hoppa, a dedicated door-to-door service operating from Haslemere, Godalming and surrounding villages to the Royal Surrey hospital and other health facilities, a number of scheduled routes and a dial a ride service for customers who do not have access to another means of transport.

All the buses are fully wheelchair accessible and the hoppa drivers and the support team pride themselves on offering exceptional customer care to their customers.

In thanking the hospital, Steve Forward general manager of hoppa says: “In a relatively rural area where the cost of living is high and public transport is limited, the need for hoppa has never been greater than it is today. Securing funding for services like ours is increasingly challenging so this grant is extremely important to us.

“Often, our customers can no longer drive or afford to run a car or simply have medical needs that mean public transport and driving are not viable options. At the same time, their health means that having easy and affordable access to hospital, their GP and so on is essential for keeping well and independent. Many Hospital hoppa customers make their bookings with us as soon as they get their appointment through and then have peace of mind from knowing they can rely on us to get them to the hospital on time. We also have a reserved space right outside the entrance to the hospital so our passengers do not have far to walk and can avoid having to encounter the steps from the hospital car park.”

Patients are not the only people who rely on the hospital hoppa service. Friends and family visiting their loved ones in hospital or accompanying them to appointments use the service too. hoppa’s flexibility means that some users only turn to the service from time to time when they cannot make other arrangements, as demonstrated by hoppa customer Pam Weingartner: “My family will usually drive me to appointments but that is not always possible as they work. It’s reassuring that I know I can turn to hoppa in these situations.”

Hoppa has been popular with its customers since it began and is not short of supporters. Sylvia Ilsley has been a regular user since hoppa started in 2002 and describes it as a lifeline: “I regularly use the Hospital hoppa to get to appointments at the Royal Surrey. I don’t know how else I would manage. Booking is easy and I know all the staff.”

Hoppa is a not for profit organisation. It receives 19% of its funding from grants and the remainder is generated by hoppa services, which include contract work such as transporting children from their home to school.

For more information about hoppa, please contact: Steve Forward on 01428 681710 or steve.forward@hoppa.org.uk