The co-ordinator of a sight impairment group is calling for more frequent buses to the new eye care centre which opened at Southlands Hospital today (Tuesday, June 27).
The number nine bus from Arundel to Holmbush, which passes through Littlehampton, Worthing, Lancing and Shoreham, serves Western Sussex Eye Care | Southlands in Upper Shoreham Road – but only comes every hour.
Ann Bridges, co-ordinator of the Lancing Group for sight impairment which is part of West Sussex charity 4Sight, said: “The clinic is very important to people of all ages with sight impairment.
“It is for the whole of the area.”
She said many patients will not be able to drive to and from the new clinic after receiving eye treatment.
Many partially sighted and blind patients cannot drive at all.
Mrs Bridges believes the frequency should be increased to at least every half an hour.
“I think it would be a good idea,” she said.
A spokesperson for Stagecoach, which runs the service, said the company was aware of the new department but said: “We currently have no plans to increase the frequency of service nine, however our services are monitored and reviewed on a regular basis to see where improvements to the timetable can be made.”
Before the new eye care department opened, Southlands Hospital received more than 1,000 patients a week for various outpatient appointments and day surgery procedures, according to a Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust spokesman.
Up to 3,000 patients a month are expected to visit the new unit for assessment or treatment.
Masoud Teimory, consultant ophthalmologist, said: “There are very few brand new eye departments in the country built to such high specifications and we are very fortunate to receive £7.5 million investment for this complex project that sets us apart from other trusts in the region and beyond.”