April 25 2014 Latest news:
Sunday, December 15, 2013
Patients are unable to access a major Norfolk hospital using public transport in the evening rush-hour because the daily traffic delays are so severe a bus company is unable to send its services there.
Ben Colson, manager of Norfolk Green, said he is eager to provide regular buses throughout the day to the King’s Lynn Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) so that patients without the use of a car can make medical appointments.
Some services are provided during the day but a frustrated Mr Colson said that he has reluctantly had to decide that buses do not go to the hospital in the evening rush hour - because, if they did, they would get caught up in delays of up to 45mins that often develop between 4pm and 7pm at the roundabout immediately outside the hopsital.
Keen to find a solution to the problem, Mr Colson has met Dr Ian Mack - chairman of the West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for buying healthcare services in the area - about finding a way forward.
They have discussed various options, such as creating a separate entrance for buses with rising bollards so they can bypass the queues.
Mr Colson and Dr Mack have both described their meeting as constructive - but said it was up to Norfolk County Council (NCC) to work with interested parties to “make a big, radical decision to deal with the traffic issues”.
He said: “There is a danger that each interested party will do its own thing in good faith and only deal with part of the problem.
“What it needs is for the county to bring all the different stakeholders together.”
Ian Parkes, senior infrastructure manager and economic growth planner at NCC, pointed to how some work to improve the surrounding area is nearing completion, with signs and lamp columns being installed shortly along with islands and footways.
He also said a new left-hand turn from the town, designed to prevent the blocking effect that causes long delays, has been opened.
“Initial reports are that these improvements are working well but it’s still early days so we’ll be monitoring the situation closely to see how it beds in,” Mr Parkes said.
However Mr Colson said he questioned “why they believe that will solve the problem”, adding that he believed there was a “lack of political will” to resolve the issue.
Mr Parkes replied: “The County Council continues to work with the QEH and borough council to address traffic issues in the area and has made bids to government to help fund new all vehicle and bus only accesses for the hospital site, to date without any success.”
Dr Mack said he was “acutely aware about the considerable difficulties that there in getting in and out of the QEH” and that he was keen to encourage the development of different exist for public transport.
What do you think should be done to improve the traffic problems around the QEH? Write, giving your full contact details, to: The Letters Editor, EDP, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.