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Monday, 24 November 2014

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Victory for Carlisle clinic's patients in uphill struggle

Patients forced to struggle up a hill to reach a community health clinic have won a temporary victory, after bus operators agreed to run a trial service.

Hilltop Heights photo
Patients faced a walk up the hill

Stagecoach announced changes to the number 60 route through Carlisle in July last year, which meant people accessing services at the London Road Community Clinic at Hill Top Heights were dropped off at the bottom of the hill.

Following a number of complaints by patients, Cumbria Partnership Foundation Trust, which runs community services including mental health, community hospitals and district nurses, took up the fight. The trust met with Cumbria Clinical Commissioning Group and Carlisle City Council, before holding a meeting with the bus operators themselves.

As a result Stagecoach bosses have agreed that for a trial period, beginning on Monday, the bus route will now include a drop off/pick up at the top of the hill at the London Road clinic.

It is not a final decision however, with the changes set to be reviewed in a month. If there is sufficient usage, permanent changes will be considered.

Service manager Fiona Dixon, from Cumbria Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “A lot of the patients who need to access the services at the London Road clinic are elderly or have mobility issues and the hill is a substantial challenge for them. We have had a lot of complaints about the difficulties people face accessing the services. We are grateful to Stagecoach for agreeing to extend their service for this trial period.”

Stagecoach operations manager Mhairi Brady added: “We are happy to extend our services on a trial basis. If there is sufficient usage this will be considered by the company.”

The community clinic offers a variety of services including podiatry, retinal screening, cardiology and respiratory clinics and sexual health services.

The changes apply to the Number 60 Carleton Clinic to Sandsfield Park and the number 60 return route.

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