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Councillors launch final petition to save Hopper bus

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Mon 16 Nov 2015

Councillors launch final petition to save Hopper bus

Councillors Jeff and Helen Osborn along with Cllr Terry Chivers initiated a petition in March after it was announced by Wiltshire Council that they could no longer afford the £150,000-a-year service which transports patients to the Royal United Hospital in Bath.

Since then, cabinet member for highways and transport Philip Whitehead has said despite Wiltshire Council not being able to solely fund the service, they would hope the Royal United Hospital Trust and Clinical Commissioning Group would match fund to keep it running.

Cllr Osborn said the petition, which is now focussed towards the RUH and CCG to add funding, is gaining much more support.

He added: “The bus service provides essential access for local people to the RUH and it is currently entirely funded by Wiltshire Council and the charges for its users. To many it is an absolute lifeline and without it, many would find it difficult to attend outpatient appointments and probably would cease to attend.

“Consequently for the service to be axed would prove a false economy for the local health community. People who are left without the service would not be attending the RUH and would be likely to find their health deteriorating and ultimately depend on hospitalisation or social care which all impact on the overall health and care budget.”

A consultation is currently underway to give Wiltshire residents he chance to have their say over the future of the service which has funding secured through the Better Care Fund until the end of March 2016.

The consultation finishes next Friday. For more information, visit www.wiltshire.gov.uk/wiltshire-hopper-survey or call 0345 456 0100.

People interested in signing the new petition should contact Cllr Jeff Osborn by emailing Jeffrey.Osborn@wiltshire.gov.uk.

By Tanya Yilmaz   16 November 2015   www.wiltshiretimes.co.uk