Plaid Cymru councillor calls for direct bus link between Caerphilly and Royal Gwent Hospital
News | | Published: 09:30, Monday September 18th, 2017.
The needs of Caerphilly’s elderly residents have been forgotten when it comes to access to hospital, a councillor has claimed.
Cllr Steve Skivens, who represents the Penyrheol ward for Plaid Cymru, has called for the provision of a direct bus service between Caerphilly and the Royal Gwent Hospital in Newport.
Cllr Skivens claims that those who rely on public transport, including the elderly, struggle to reach the hospital due to a lack of direct options.
He said: “When the decision was made some years ago to change the main default hospital from the Heath in Cardiff to the Royal Gwent Hospital, for many people in Caerphilly and surrounding communities were the transport needs seriously considered?
“I encountered a 76-year-old man one evening in some discomfort trying to walk from the bus stop above St Woolos Hospital to the Royal Gwent to visit his wife. He was tired and short of breath.
“I’ve raised the public transport issues for the new hospital being built in Cwmbran with the chief executive of the health trust and the current difficulties with the Royal Gwent. She states they will plan for it but could see the logistical issues.
“This is something Transport for Wales – which was set up by the Welsh Government – needs to take onboard.”
The new £350 million Grange University Hospital in Cwmbran is expected to open in 2021.
When built, the new hospital will treat patients who need complex and acute emergency care in the Gwent region – which includes Caerphilly County Borough. This means patients will no longer have to travel to the Royal Gwent Hospital in an emergency.
Jo Foxall, Director at Traveline Cymru, said: “Public transport is absolutely critical to the fabric of Wales. Each year there are 101 million bus journeys and 20 million train journeys around Wales, allowing people to live their lives.
“We therefore support any calls to improve or increase services.
“Information about public transport is just as crucial as the services themselves. Without a timetable, a bus or a train is just a vehicle on wheels and getting information can often be difficult.”
Stagecoach Wales, who claim to have 24 million passengers, declined to comment.