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New bus service for Polkyth Surgery in St Austell could cease unless more people use it

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: February 20, 2013

DOOR TO DOOR: Sandra Francis with Dr Manisha Cooper and receptionist Megan Kenny, outside the Polkyth Surgery.

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A NEW bus service that delivers patients right to the doctor's surgery door is in danger of folding if more people don't get on board.

Jenny Curtis, vice-chairman of the patient participation group (PPG) for Polkyth Surgery, St Austell, said Cornwall Council would not offer surgery users a concessionary discount in its car park.

She approached St Austell MP Stephen Gilbert and they teamed up to approach bus companies.

Summercourt Travel implemented a stop-off immediately outside the surgery's front door in early January. The route also includes Tesco and Asda, where there is a pharmacy.

"We had a few requests and then one from Stephen Gilbert. We looked at it and it was feasible so we set it up," said Summercourt Travel director Rob Ryder. "We responded to local demand but now we just need to spread the word."

Anyone with an English National Concessionary Pass, including those aged over 60 and disabled people, can ride the bus for free.

But Mrs Curtis said more people need to be aware of the service and use it in order to keep it in action.

"There's a risk it could fold," she added. "The take-up wasn't going well so we are planning to give out leaflets for patients."

PPG chairman Sandra Francis said: "It's absolutely vital people use the service because not only can they travel door-to-door, but they can also go to Asda to do their shopping and pick up their prescriptions."

Mr Gilbert added: "It's great that the campaigning which local people have led and that I've helped with has paid off with this new bus route.

"The new bus stop is a real help to people in getting to the doctors' and to a pharmacy too. It was a small change but it will make life a lot easier for many people and is very welcome."

Cornwall Council said there are a few short-term parking bays outside the surgery allowing patients to park for about ten minutes to collect, drop off a prescription or make an appointment without paying.

"We are pleased Travel Cornwall has agreed to help increase access to the surgery by providing a link to Polkyth Surgery on the council-supported 423 Lostwithiel, Luxulyan and Stenalees to St Austell service," said a spokesman.

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