At the beginning of January’s Isle of Wight full council meeting, Campaigns Officer for the Isle of Wight Green Party, Cameron Palin, raised concerns from the community about the council’s plans for the concessionary travel scheme (see below in full).
Many discretionary elements have been recommended for removal from the concessionary travel scheme, including travelling before 9.30am. These plans have been condemned by community groups, and Island Labour said they would lead to social isolation for many with mental health issues.
Cameron tells OnTheWight he had to prompt Cllr Ward three times for a response over the last 26 days.
In the last few hours, Cllr Ward has replied saying,
“Cameron, I can confirm that the NHS, CCG and Mental Health Service were consulted during the consultation period.”
Not the “detailed response” Cameron was expecting.
Palin: “Brings into question the council’s professionalism”
Cameron told OnTheWight,
“With many disabled people and their careers left in limbo, it’s clear to me that this council cares little those who are the most vulnerable in society and this is yet another example of that.
“It has taken over three weeks for the Cabinet Member for Infrastructure and Transport to formulate one of most bare-boned responses I’ve ever seen, which is a clear contrast to the “detailed response” I was promised by the leader of the council.
“This also brings into question the council’s professionalism, as this is not the first time I have had to chase the council for a response on a question. The sole reason I brought this question forward was because residents in East Cowes had asked me to do so, and for them this is yet another sign the council do not care about them.”
“In July 2019, the council launched the concessionary travel scheme
consultation, the proposal put forward by THIS council would prevent disabled people from using their bus passes in the morning, during high traffic times.
“This consultation ended in October, yet no outcome has been publicised and those who will be affected have no clue in what is going on.
“Can the council please comment on what action they shall take given the consultation ended nearly three months ago? And do they acknowledge if the proposal goes forward it will dis-proportionally affect those who have hospital or doctors appointments before, at or around 9:30am?”
He followed up with a supplementary question,
“Considering many disabled people cannot drive, but they need to go to early appointments at the hospital or doctors surgery, have you consulted with the IW NHS Trust and CCG to ensure that it would be feasible to make ALL appointments for disabled people after 9:30am?
“I have been informed by a professional that things such as fasting blood tests need to be done in a morning, not an afternoon, and this proposal could make it difficult for patients to get to hospital in time for such appointment”