Discussions about how to maintain a sustainable source of funding for the Wessex Cancer Trust Daisy Bus service for Islanders travelling to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth have been held this week.
As reported on Tuesday, an anonymous donor has ensured the service can continue until January 2018, but other long-term options are still being explored. As a result of the meeting the anonymous donation has extended the service to Spring 2018.
The service costs £28,000 per annum to run and has provided thousands of journeys for Islanders travelling to Portsmouth for cancer treatment.
Hosted by Hovertravel
Hovertravel hosted the meeting, which included Cait Allen: Wessex Cancer Trust, Sofie Bennett: Wessex Cancer Trust, Mike Seizer-Green: Wessex Cancer Trust, Neil Chapman: Hovertravel, Loretta Lale: Hovertravel, Gary Eldridge: Hovertravel, Dave Kiely: Prostate Cancer Support Group, Mary Seymour: Skin, Head and Neck Cancer Support Groups, Isle of Wight Conservative MP, Bob Seely, Martin Fuller: NHS Hospital Trust, Chris Jarman and June Ring.
Neil Chapman, managing director of Hovertravel, explains,
“With the funding from the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group no longer available for this vital transport service, Hovertravel wanted to assist with the efforts to find a solution, and it was humbling to see the outpouring of support from the Island community, including Bob Seely MP as well as the local Cancer Support groups and its workers.
“Thankfully I am pleased to advise that following this very positive meeting, funding from anonymous donations has been secured to keep the minibus operating until Spring 2018.”
Hovertravel to donate 10% of its current NHS fare
He went on to say,
“There are also several other options for longer-term funding including Hovertravel donating 10% of its current NHS fare.
“We have all agreed to meet again in the New Year to continue to progress how we can identify a sustainable source of funding for this most important service .”
Cait Allen, Chief Executive Wessex Cancer Trust, added,
“I know Neil has spoken to many of Hovertravel’s customers over the last week, including those who use this essential link, and that everyone at Hovertravel was keen to help bring the community together to find a solution.
“As well as a big thanks to Hovertravel, I would like to extend my gratitude to everyone who attended this meeting and with the plans we have agreed, I am confident we can secure the future of The Wessex Cancer Trust minibus for several years to come.”
Since 2014 patients travelling across to Portsmouth for cancer treatment having been using a dedicated bus service which runs between the Hovertravel terminal at Southsea and Portsmouth Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham. Each year the bus provides over 8,000 passenger journeys for cancer patients from the Island.
The NHS (Primary Care Trust) provided a one-off grant, but the CCG is no longer able to fund patient transport services outside of the national eligibility scheme.