Hospital hits back on Doncaster shuttle bus concerns

Concerns were raised over shuttle buses between Doncaster Royal Infirmary, pictured, and the Mexborough Montagu Hospital
Concerns were raised over shuttle buses between Doncaster Royal Infirmary, pictured, and the Mexborough Montagu Hospital

Hospital bosses say a shuttle bus service from Mexborough to Doncaster is safe, despite councillors' concerns.

Mexborough ward Councillor Bev Chapman has raised concerns that the bus between Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Mexborough Montagu Hospital, paid for by an £11.5 million funding pot which was set up by a Mexborough couple in 1998 in a will, could end if the trust money runs out.

She raised her concerns in leaflets circulated around Mexborugh, which also raised concerns over the use of £2.56 million from the fund, known as the Fred and Ann Green Legacy, to support work to improve an opthalmology development at DRI.

It follows concerns being raised in governors meeting minutes stating that one governor had suggested this was 'using the money to bridge a financial gap'.

She said the legacy was supposed to give priority to Mexborugh's Montagu Hospital, and is used to fund the shuttle bus. She fears if it runs out the shuttle could be lost.

She added: "I must make it clear I am not alleging any impropriety, but when governors are asking this sort of questions we in Mexborough deserve to know the fine details of the arguments, particularly when such a large proportion of the legacy's capital sum has been used and when eye appointments are now being moved from the Montagu to the DRI."

The concerns were also raised on a banner on Adwick Road, Mexborough.

But in a statement, the hospital said there were no current plans to end the shuttle bus and the only discussion which had been had was on whether the NHS trust could fund the shuttle rather than continuing to use the legacy fund money.

The legacy was given to be used for the Montagu and DRI to enhance the services which are provided to residents with developments at the Montagu site prioritised. The statement said this was why in recent years the legacy had been used to support the refurbishment of the rehabilitation centre at Montagu.

The statement said: "Like all charitable donations the use of the Funds is subject to rules and regulations and in taking difficult decisions about priorities there is an advisory committee which has a nominated representative of Fred and Anne. It is accurate to reflect that the use of the fund to support the ophthalmic centre was subject to strong debate but approval was given as the development would be used to enhance the ophthalmic service the residents of Mexborough receive. This means that the ophthalmic service is steadily increasing the range of services at Montagu and in May the plan is to start six new screening and virtual clinics there, for glaucoma, paediatrics and macular degeneration.

"The subject of the shuttle bus is mentioned in respect of the ophthalmology development as it is one of the services which have been supported by the legacy. The discussion on this was not related to a threat to withdraw the shuttle, but on whether the Trust could fund the shuttle rather than continuing to draw down monies from the Fred and Ann legacy. There are no current plans to discontinue the inter hospital shuttle bus."

Coun Chapman is looking at standing to become a member of the hospital's governors.

Mexborough couple Fred and Ann Green ran a butchers business in Mexborough in the 1930sand formed a partnership with what is now ASDA in the 1950s. Ann died in 1980, and Fred died in 1998. Their only son had died in a cycling accident, so they left £11.5 million to their legacy trust.