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Campaigners call for bus diversion to Finchley Memorial Hospital
Campaigners have started a petition calling for a bus diversion to Finchley Memorial Hospital.
The website for the petition, which has received nearly 1,900 online signatures in two weeks, claims much of the hospital is “empty” as local GPs are avoiding the building, which their patients cannot access.
The nearest bus stop to the £28million hospital, in Granville Road, is nearly 250m away, making the site difficult to reach for some elderly and disabled people.
Julia Hines of Age UK Barnet, which set up the petition, said: “A new bus stop is so very vital. Older and disabled people must be able to access the facilities that are there specifically for them.”
Transport for London’s (TfL) persistent refusal to divert a bus route has been a point of contention for residents and politicians alike since the hospital, which boasts indoor and outdoor gyms and 54 private en suite bedrooms, opened in October 2012.
Mike Freer, MP for Finchley and Golders Green, said: “I have been pressing TfL on this issue when it became apparent the NHS hadn't planned for public transport. I have met the deputy mayor and had site visits.
“I am hopeful that as the hospital becomes fully occupied and we enter a new financial year, TfL will reconsider.”
Charlie Sheldon, deputy chief nurse at Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust, the parent organisation that oversees Finchley Memorial Hospital, also voiced his support for the petition.
He said: “We support any practical changes that improve accessibility for our patients.
“I hope a solution can be found that suits all parties and enables our patients easier access to the community health services that we provide there.”
When asked about the petition by the Times Series, TfL said diverting a bus to the hospital would cost £120,000 a year, and delay other travellers.
John Barry, head of network development for TfL, said: “We have considered this request, but diverting route 382 would cost £120,000 each year and result in longer journey times for around 1,500 passengers every day.
“Forecasts show that a much smaller number of people would use the diverted service to access the hospital.
“In addition, the hospital grounds are not currently suitable for a public bus service as there is no bus stop area, and parking and drop-off spaces would need to be removed.”
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