A Rolleston on Dove pensioner has hit out angrily at the loss of a local bus service to take people to hospital - amid concerns elderly patients are being forced to take taxis.
Katherine Weaver-Flack, a lifelong resident of the village, says there is a "desperate need" for a bus service to take villagers to Burton hospital.
Miss Weaver-Flack, 69, contacted the Burton Mail about the absence of a direct route to the hospital after hearing of neighbours forking out for taxis or having to get two buses each way to Burton’s Queen’s Hospital.
She said that since the number 15 service stopped a couple of years ago, people young and old have been forced to find alternative routes and means to get the medical help they need.
Miss Weaver-Flack, of Dodslow Avenue, said: "For the last couple of years we have not been able to get to the hospital by bus. I am nearly 70 and I have to go to the hospital quite a lot and I know there are lots of elderly people suffering because of this.
"People in Stretton and Tutbury and Horninglow can all get to the hospital but we can’t. It makes no sense to me."
The mother of one said her 90-year-old neighbour was being left out of pocket as she had no choice but to pay £10 for taxi trips to the hospital.
She said: "The irony is that the people it is affecting are the people who have bus passes and are entitled to this type of transport.
"Some people can’t drive when they get to a certain age and parking is horrendous at the hospital so some people would prefer to catch the bus.
"A lot of the residents are on pension credit or disability and it is very sad that some people in their nineties are having to rely on taxis to get to and from the hospital. If you have to go for blood tests three times a week that is £30 a week.
"It is not just about the money, it is also about convenience. The bus would not even have to go out of its way, it is five minutes if that.
"I think it is unbelievable that you can get to the Royal Derby hospital which is 10 miles up the road easier than getting to your local hospital three miles from your doorstep."
Miss Weaver-Flack said residents would benefit greatly from an additional service which she said "will be used 100 per cent."
She said: "People used to catch the bus all the time up to the hospital and now the eye hospital and the breast clinic is up there as well. It is a lifeline for people.
"The number 15 used to take you directly there and drop you off opposite the hospital but now we have to walk a good way to the bus stop to catch it from Rolleston to New Street and then another from New Street to Rolleston and the same to come back again.
"The bus companies do not seem interested in our concerns but this is important. People are walking two miles to get to a bus stop to have to get two buses. It is ridiculous. I know a direct bus would be used because there is an obvious need for it now.
"I am speaking up for the community I was born into. Why can’t there be a bus? I know it may not happen overnight but something needs to be done."
Keith Myatt, head of business development at Midland Classic, said: “Arriva altered their network in 2007 which included removing route 15; a decision which obviously we had no control over nor knowledge of why they did it but can presume it was down to lack of use.
"We do operate buses to Queen's Hospital, passengers from Rolleston on Dove should change buses at either Tutbury or Burton.
"Midland Classic have no plans to introduce a bus service between Rolleston on Dove and the hospital in the near future."