Passengers with concessionary bus passes can travel free on hospital bus
Passengers with concessionary bus passes can now travel free on a service connecting Haverhill and surrounding villages to West Suffolk Hospital.
The pre-bookable service, which has been running for nearly a year, provides a vital link between communities to the west of Bury St Edmunds and the town's hospital.
Until recently, senior citizens, students and the disabled with concessionary passes were not able to use them on the service - which is operated by The Voluntary Network.
But thanks to funding from the West Suffolk Alliance, people with the passes can now travel free.
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Lois Wreathall, head of primary care for the NHS West Suffolk Clinical Commissioning Group, a member of the alliance, said: "We were pleased to provide funding to enable concessionary passes to be used on this vital route.
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"The lack of public transport in rural areas has an impact on health inequalities and it is essential we make the hospital as accessible as we possibly can.
"I hope the funding the alliance has provided will make it easier for patients from Haverhill and villages to the west of Bury St Edmunds to access the care and treatment they need."
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Villages serviced by the route include Withersfield, Calford Green, Kedington, Great Wratting, Barnardiston, Great Thurlow, Hundon, Sowley Green, Hobbies Green, Pound Green, Cowlinge, Farley Green, Stradishall, Denston, Assington Green, Stansfield, Hawkedon, Clopton Green, Wickhambrook, Rede, Depden, Hargrave, Chedburgh, Chevington, Whepstead and Horringer.
Dr Stephen Dunn, chief executive of West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, said: "This is a much needed service for patients and staff travelling to and from Haverhill to West Suffolk Hospital and enables patients to access our services more easily.
"Making concessionary passes valid on this service will support even more of our community to use this convenient, environmentally-friendly service for our rural patients and employees."
People from Haverhill and the surrounding villages are able to book rides to the hospital online by clicking here.
Alternatively, transport can be booked by telephoning 01638 664304.