The future of a vital hospital transport service has been made a little more certain thanks to a £15,000 cash injection from Royal Surrey County Hospital. The announcement was made by Royal Surrey County Hospital’s Chief Executive on 3 March before the MP for South West Surrey, Jeremy Hunt and Chairman of hoppa, Rob Stansbury.
The Hospital hoppa is a convenient and reliable service that takes patients who live in Godalming, Haslemere and surrounding villages to medical appointments at Royal Surrey County Hospital. The bus picks up passengers from their front door and drops them off outside the main entrance to the hospital. The door to door, wheelchair accessible service is aimed at anybody who does not have easy or ready access to personal or public transport.
The MP for South West Surrey, Jeremy Hunt said: “I am very familiar with the work of hoppa and know from speaking with passengers how much they value the service. Hospital hoppa provides a lifeline to many people living in rural communities who do not have access to transport. The service is invaluable and available to a large number of the community including the elderly, mums-to-be or those with a disability.
“This extra funding for the service is great news. From its conception in 2005, the service has delivered over 21,000 passenger journeys, helping people to get to their appointments on time.”
Explaining why they decided to contribute towards the service, Paula Head, Chief Executive at the Royal Surrey says: “The Hospital hoppa does a fantastic job at transporting large numbers of patients so that they get to the hospital on time for their appointment. Funding the service is a very clear example of how we spend money to save money. If a patient can attend their appointment, it puts us in the best possible position to manage and treat their condition. However, if a lack of transport means the patient is not able to attend their appointment, this could lead to their condition worsening and them needing expensive intervention or a stay in hospital. Missed appointments cost us money, waste precious resources and impact on waiting times so we are very clear that by investing in the Hospital hoppa service we are able to save money in other areas.”
Speaking at the presentation, Rob Stansbury, Chairman of Waverley hoppa Community Transport says: “We are extremely grateful to the Royal Surrey for recognising the value of Hospital hoppa and providing us with a year’s worth of financial security. Although, the hospital is only 13 miles away from the centre of Haslemere, there is no direct transport link, which makes demand for the service consistently high.
“Without Hospital hoppa patients face either a pricey taxi journey or a lengthy bus journey. For example, if a patient needed to be at the hospital by 9am, assuming they were able to get from their home to a Haslemere town centre bus stop, they would have to catch the 6.25am bus, travel for 40 minutes to Guildford bus station, wait 5 minutes for the connecting bus and arrive one hour and 12 minutes early or wait at the bus station for an hour, travel for 38 minutes and arrive at the hospital with around 15 minutes to spare. Hospital hoppa takes away the waiting around and the worry of wondering whether the bus will be on time so patients can arrive more relaxed and on time for their appointment.”
To use the Hospital hoppa service, passengers simply need to register their details by calling 01428 681701 or visiting www.hoppa.org.uk. Demand for the service is high so it is recommended that as much notice as possible is given when wanting to book a journey. The fare costs £10 each way and £2.50 for a carer or companion.
Hospital hoppa is also funded by Haslemere Town Council and Godalming Town Council.