Island patients travelling across to Portsmouth for cancer treatment are now able to benefit from a dedicated bus service which will run between the Hovertravel terminal at Southsea and Portsmouth Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham.
The 15 seat mini bus service is free and available for all cancer patients to use and replaces the existing taxi service that runs between the Hovercraft and the hospital. It will operate weekdays from Monday to Friday and will pick up from the Hovertravel Terminal, Southsea and drop off at the Queen Alexandra (QA) Hospital, Cosham. A collection/drop off from the Marriott Hotel can also be arranged.
The Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has funded the purchase of the minibus and the on-going running costs will be provided by Wessex Cancer Trust.
Sally Hall, chief executive of Wessex Cancer Trust, said:
“We are delighted that the new bus service is up and running and we are able to support its future funding.
“We fully understand how difficult it can be for patients to travel at a very emotional time and it will not only help to ease the pressure of getting to and from appointments at QA Hospital for patients, but also for family and friends who wish to travel with them.”
The journey from the Hovercraft to QA Hospital takes approximately 20 minutes with the first pick up from Southsea at 09:30 and the final service of the day leaving Portsmouth QA at 15:00. The drop off point at QA Hospital will be at the main hospital entrance.
Mike Plapp, 63, and from the Island, was one of the first patients to use the new bus service. He said:
“I have to travel to the Portsmouth QA Hospital five times a week for radiotherapy after recently been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
“Travelling from the Isle of Wight to Portsmouth with no guaranteed transport has been a major challenge and meant I was reliant upon taxis or public transport, neither of which were often immediately to hand. It is now such a relief to have the Wessex Cancer Trust bus waiting for us every morning, taking this side of the travel complications out of the equation. It’s an excellent service with a friendly, safe and courteous driver.”
Speaking on behalf of the Isle of Wight NHS Trust, Anne Snow, Lead Cancer Nurse, said:
“This is an excellent development for cancer patients travelling to QA in Portsmouth. The bus service which has run in Southampton for a number of years runs very well and we are delighted to be able to offer the same service to patients travelling to Portsmouth. The last thing patients should need to worry about is travel arrangements whilst undergoing intensive treatment and so I am sure this service will be very welcomed.”
Information on how to access the bus service will be made available to cancer patients as part of the information pack provided by their Clinical Nurse Specialist at St. Mary’s Hospital. Alternatively patients can contact Wessex Cancer Trust direct on 023 8067 2200 e: [email protected] or visit www.wessexcancer.org.uk.