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Campaigner seeks NHS cash to fund hospital bus route
PENSIONER Michael Hamlet has campaigned to get a direct bus to the Churchill Hospital, Oxford, for five years. But prostate cancer survivor, Mr Hamlet, 82, is not giving up his fight. The retired carpenter says Oxford Bus Company could divert its City23 to the John Radcliffe via the Churchill.
The firm has said it would be economically unviable, so Mr Hamlet is now asking Oxford University Hospitals Trust to fund the service.
Mr Hamlet said: “This is important for everyone who goes to the Churchill or who might need to at some point.
“The only bus that says Churchill on the front, number four, stops outside the Nuffield and that is a long way to walk if you’re not able to walk well.”
Mr Hamlet, a member of a Churchill Hospital cancer support group, said: “I promised the group I would try to get a bus to the Churchill and I’ve been trying for five years.”
He wants Oxford Bus Company to divert its City23 through Gispy Lane, Roosevelt Drive, around the Churchill and to the Nuffield and John Radcliffe.
He added: “If they changed the route they might get even more passengers.”
Cancer drug campaigner Clive Stone, from Eynsham, uses the City23 to get to radiotherapy at the Churchill.
He backs the idea and said: “We need easier bus access. It is a long walk and if you can’t walk far that is a nightmare.”
Oxford Bus Company director Phil Southall said: “The idea of a service linking the city centre into the Churchill site is not new but research shows it is not commercially viable. “Diverting the City23 would increase journey times and would make the service un-attractive to through passengers. Our City4 service from the city centre to Wood Farm stops by the Girdlestone Road entrance to the Churchill, a short walk from the centre of the site.”
He said the company stopped running buses to the Churchill because of congestion.
He said: “Since then traffic has increased. The internal roads on the hospital site are very congested at times, particularly at the Churchill Drive exit.”
Mr Hamlet has spoken to OUHT chief executive Sir Jonathan Michael, who told him the trust “might be able to find a small amount of funding”.
OUHT declined to comment.