In this lengthy post on our sister blog, Estuary Stirrings, we pointed out that lack of access to a car and having to rely on poor public transport provision has an adverse impact on the ability to source a decent, healthy range of foods: Food deserts, food supply and taking back control. Here’s another story about the negative consequences of having to rely on a poor bus service – this one concerns patients attending Orsett Hospital.

The original source for this was the Orsett Hospital Closures Facebook group – https://www.facebook.com/groups/orsetthospitalclosure To respect the privacy of the patient concerned, we’re paraphrasing their story.

They travelled to Orsett Hospital from Grays on Friday 27 November for a blood test. There’s only one bus an hour that goes from Grays to right outside the hospital. To ensure they were on time for a pre-booked appointment, the patient had no option but to get a bus that got them to the hospital half an hour before their appointment. Because of ongoing COVID-19 regulations, the patient was told to wait outside until the time of their appointment. When they did get inside, there was a further delay of half an hour. This delay meant they missed the bus back to Grays and had to wait at the stop in the cold for the best part of an hour. By the time the patient got home they were freezing cold.

The ‘option’ of walking up to the A1013 to catch the 100 bus back into Grays doesn’t cut it. If you’re not feeling well, you wouldn’t want to be doing that walk in the cold. Also there’s the small issue of having to cross a busy A1013 to get to the bus stop. This is not an option, end of story. The reality is that there’s only one bus an hour to and from Orsett Hospital and that’s not acceptable.

If you’re feeling unwell, having to stand outside for a lengthy period in the cold of a late November day isn’t exactly going to help matters is it? As a result of unthinking, rigid adherence to COVID-19 regulations combined with having to rely on a poor bus service, this is what one patient was forced to endure. We’re pretty sure this is far from an isolated incident.

Box ticking officialdom may feel they’ve done their job with COVID-19 regulations and claiming that if you take the 100 service into account, there’s more than one bus an hour serving Orsett Hospital. So long as they can tick their boxes, they appear to care little for the patients who have to suffer from a combination of deteriorating public transport and over rigid adherence to the ‘rules’. We just want to let them know this is totally unacceptable. At some point, people are going to get fed up with being treated in this way and something will give…

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