Letter: By car to hospital

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The Independent Online
Sir: While growing car use is a threat to health, the health institutions themselves have much to answer for ("Get out of your cars, say doctors", 26 September).

As a public transport consultant I am increasingly concerned about the movement of major trip attractors from city centres to the outskirts, and while offices and shops are the more obvious examples, hospitals are just as bad. Travellers to hospitals, whether poorly-paid staff, out-patients or visitors, are more likely than average to be non-car owners, so suffer from poor transport links; those that have the choice take their cars, and clog the car-parks and adjacent streets.

A good example is in Birmingham, where city centre hospitals have been closed, while a non-central site laughingly called "Heartlands" has been developed. All this has is one radial bus service, leaving many non-car owners with a two or three-bus journey and/or a long walk. A good example of the results of planning health service provision on narrow financial criteria.

ALAN P HOWES

Perthshire

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