HEALTH bosses have tried to ease concerns over hospital transport by offering free bus travel to patients and visitors.

Free tickets are now being given to patients and visitors travelling between Buckinghamshire hospital sites on Arriva buses.

Single-use travel tickets are available from either the main receptions at Stoke Mandeville and Wycombe Hospitals, or the cashiers office at Amersham Hospital.

Passengers will have to show their appointment letter or, if visiting a relative, give details of the patient and ward they are visiting.

This follows the axing last year of the Stoke Mandeville Shuttle, a mini-bus which ran regular journeys between the sites (see link below).

The H1 Arriva service runs between Wycombe bus station and Wycombe Hospital, while the 300 travels between Wycombe bus station and Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

The offer is also valid on bus numbers 52/62 – between Amersham Hospital and Wycombe bus station, and the 72 - between Wycombe Hospital and Amersham Hospital.

Health bosses say they are also working on improvements to car parking at hospital sites.

Meanwhile, they hope to cut the number of journeys needed by increasing the use of telemedicine - a system where a specialist doctor can see and talk to a patient on a computer screen.

Under plans published by the local NHS this week, about 300 emergency medical patients will be directed to Stoke Mandeville instead of Wycombe each week (see link below for main story).

We asked health chiefs what the extra costs would be for our ambulance service and how many extra journeys would be created.

The NHS Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire Cluster did not provide any figures, but said: “Our proposals have the full support of South Central Ambulance Service, who are trained to identify the best place to take patients dependent on their clinical needs....

“Patients already transfer between our two main hospitals depending on their clinical need. The proposals will decrease some patient journeys and increase others and we continue to work with the ambulance service to understand the net effect.”