Out in the cold - Vic bus travel misery
STAFF and patients alike have slammed poor public transport links between the Victoria Hospital and West Fife.
Last week the Press reported that health boss David Stewart called for the public to use the bus - or a taxi - after the switch of services from the Queen Margaret Hospital to the expanded Vic was marred by parking chaos.
However, that brought a rapid response from those having to cope with the move to their new workplace as well as those trying to reach the Vic from outlying West Fife communities.
After finishing a long shift, staff are now having to endure waiting out in the cold for bus links, which are thin on the ground.
The shift work at hospitals is leading to particular difficulties, as highlighted by Press reader Fiona Anderson.
She contacted us by email to say, "There is around seven to eight of us awaiting the number 33 bus from the Vic in Kirkcaldy to Cowdenbeath every evening and nine times out of 10 it is over 15 minutes late.
"On a couple of occasions it has not turned up at all, usually a Wednesday night. Due to this another girl and I miss our 19B bus connection on to Dunfermline.
"We then have to wait 20 minutes/half an hour for another bus.
"Staff, visitors and patients all rely on a decent service. I have complained to Stagecoach. They are trying to blame the traffic lights!
"I finish at 19.30 hrs - twice I have not got home until 21.50 hrs.
"That is totally ridiculous. God help any visitor travelling from say Oakley, Kincardine etc going to see someone in the hospital if they are dependent on this bus service.
"While Stagecoach put on extra buses for morning staff, has it forgotten a hospital works on a shift system? What about evening/backshift workers?
"Also nurses who have been on their feet for a 12-hour shift? There is no bus from Victoria Hospital direct to Dunfermline at night.
"It is time Stagecoach addressed these issues or perhaps another bus company take over these runs."
Councillor Tony Martin, Fife's chair of transportation, said, "We have had complaints about the services and we're talking to Stagecoach.
"The switch of hospital services to the Victoria has just happened and Stagecoach have introduced additional services.
"We have to see if these can be tweaked in response to the feedback from staff and visitors.
"There is no money available as subsidies but we'll keep talking with Stagecoach."
Elected health board member John Winton, from Rosyth, said, "We've seen the situation here in Fife that the health board do nothing, Fife Council huffs and puffs tinkering at the edges and Stagecoach are a commercial company.
"Nobody's got any money and it's a vicious circle with the public suffering and left to get on with it.
"It's a poor, poor bus service if you live in this part of Fife. With the parking and the public transport, it's all been badly handled and things are coming home to roost."
Meanwhile, MSP John Park is writing to Stagecoach and NHS Fife calling for them to work together to bring about better public transport links between West Fife and the Vic.
This article appeared in Dunfermline Press 10 Feb 12
Have your say. Post a comment on this article.
Feb 10, 14:00
Feb 10, 15:02
The Victoria Hospital is in wrong location, badly accessed and poorly designed.
It should have been built near to main arterial road for Fife. To meet everyones needs it should have been near to Lochgelly.
Having visited recently it was impossible to park at, a 9.30 appointment we were there before 8.45 and if it wasn't that top car park opening at 9.00 we wouldn't have found space. At 11.15 it was full. Where do you go. My wife because of parking problems sat waiting for me, and as soon as we left someone was waiting to get in to space.
We attend Western General in Edinburgh and can arrive a few minutes before appointment and can get parked with no bother as long as we show appointment card. Perhaps a car park in Victoria should be operated this way, a out patients only Car Park barrier manned by an attendant from 8.30am till 6.00pm. The cost of this would be covered by failed appointments, because of parking problems.
Recommend? Yes 32 No 2
Feb 10, 21:52
NHS Scotland and Fife Board must be worst managed in western Europe ,poor planning as always and would not have happened in any other European country.Hopeless and beyond parody.
Recommend? Yes 21 No 2
Feb 11, 15:59
Feb 12, 10:00
My GP told me to take my daughter to hopsital because of her high temprature. 2hrs for a ambulance to come out and get us, or i could try by bus. Luckly one of my reatives took us in. But when it came to getting back home, because of the time of night, there was no hospital transport. The cash machine wasnt working, the VERY knid lady at A&E reception said that it wasnt because of it being a pay day (Queen Margreat has two, where Victoria has ONE!). Luckly my mom has enough cash for us to get a taxi back to hers and she would pay him.
I'm a public transport user. In fact i have a travel card because i'm epilitic, so i'll porobly never be 'safe' to drive.
Bus service should have been sorted out before services were transfered! I'm horified that what it was left up to me to 'sort out'.
Recommend? Yes 11 No 2
Feb 12, 10:11
@Jayc182 Its not lazyness that people dont want to walk to the hospital, many people are there for appointments and may be in ill health!
The bus services in general are a problem and need to be addressed, the services in Kirkcaldy I have noticed always run at least 5 minutes late and is a nightmare when trying to catch a connecting journey somewhere. There should have been talks with Stagecoach to discuss additional services BEFORE the move was made. The lack of hindsight shocks me!
Recommend? Yes 25 No 1
Feb 12, 20:48
Alas the Trouble with the Traffic lights are true, Some daft person in Fife council replace a perfectly good roundabout at Adam Smith theatre and replaced it with 4 way set of traffic lights, even the local hate it.
Alas I hate to break it to the No33 users but the No19B change on 27th Feb and will leave Cowdenbeath 4mins before the No33 arrives.
Fife council/health broad are to blame for this utter mess. I dont understand why doesn't Stagecoach divert the X26 from Dysart at 19.16 via the Victoria to arrive at Dunfermline at 20.05 which would allow connections to many service at 20.10. Simple and no money needed.
Recommend? Yes 9 No 0
Feb 14, 16:26
We visited a friend last week who is a patient at the Royal Forth Valley Hospital in Larbert.We were amazed to find a car park which had lots of free spaces - unlike anything we've found at Fife hospitals!
The hospital also operates a staggered visiting time system for the various wards - a simple idea but obviously a very effective one.
Why can'r Fife get it's act together!?
Recommend? Yes 6 No 0
Feb 14, 22:17
Feb 16, 19:03
Forth Valley has 4 dedicated bus services that link many parts to the New hospital From 5am - Midnight.....
also bobthebuilder, 747 has been going via Kirklistons for a while now due to traffic on A8000, but now it can pick up/drop of passengers. It still takes the same amount of times, and misses out of the traffic especial since of the Roadworks
Recommend? Yes 1 No 0
Feb 16, 19:19
This poor situation is badly affecting staff, patients and visitors. I work part-time, and have to get the bus as my husband needs the car for his work and to colect the children. So working a 12 hour shift, i now need to leave at 6.30 in the morning to get a bus to Kdy, so im basically starting at 6.30. The Last bus from the hospital leaves before i finish my shift and leave my ward at 7.45/8pm. Therefore having to get two seperate buses on my way. So not getting home till after 9pm. My Job relies on my being alert and not being tired. However after a long 3 days shifts doing this im physically exhausted. Its so unfair and someone needs to recognize this.
Recommend? Yes 9 No 0
Feb 16, 23:17
I know exactly what you are saying, it is impossible to get a direct service back in the evenings, I work in the Vic 5 days a week (part-time) and finnish at 7.30 pm, high time Stagecoach was putting on a X27 going direct to Dunfermline to allow us to get home at a reasonable time, or a few other 33 buses to Dunfermline, after all they put on more 34A buses, why not extend the service to Dunfermline!
Recommend? Yes 4 No 0
Mar 5, 22:32
Oct 15, 12:05
How has this abysmal situation occurred. My mother was taken to Victoria hospital. Staff are fine. It is obvious there are too few beds, too few staff and virtually impossible to use public transport to visit.
What steps are fife council taking to remedy the situation. Difficult as the only sensible decicision to to abandon the current ludicrous plan and have two properly manned hospitals . One in Dunfermline and one in Kirkcaldy
Recommend? Yes 0 No 0