A YATE-based community transport scheme is spearheading a campaign to make getting to hospital easier for people with mobility problems.

Green Community Travel is appealing to North Bristol NHS Trust, which runs Southmead Hospital, to install a dedicated bay outside the main entrance of the new hospital building so passengers, many of whom use mobility aids or are elderly and frail, can be dropped off straight outside.

Manager of the charity, Jenny Bright, said: “We do a lot of runs to Southmead Hospital and sometimes our drivers have to drive round and round until there is a space to drop passengers off.

“Many vehicles which stop outside the main entrance have tail lifts so there is very little room as well.

“Our drivers are all volunteers and this can make the whole experience quite stressful for them.”

She added: “At the moment there are quite a few taxi bays and we are asking for one dedicated bay not just for us, but for other community transport schemes to use as well.

“If there was somewhere we knew we could stop it would make it much easier.”

On Friday (November 20), North Bristol NHS Trust chief executive Andrea Young and associate director of facilities Andy Jeanes travelled from the community transport scheme’s depot on North Road to Southmead Hospital to see for themselves how difficult parking can be.

Ms Young told the Gazette: “We want to understand what the experience is like and we will be thinking about how to make things a bit smoother.

“We don’t know about a bay but there may be options around putting the scheme in contact with our transport office so they can let them know they are coming.

“There is also the possibility of making contact with our ‘move makers’ so they are ready to receive community transport patients.”

She added: “We want people to have a good experience getting to Southmead and if we can help improve that experience then we will.”

Ms Young said phase 2 of the development of Southmead, which opened its doors as the region’s main acute hospital last May, would be completed in May 2016 and would provide more space outside the main entrance.

Thornbury and Yate MP Luke Hall, who volunteers with Green Community Travel and also made the journey to Southmead last week, said: “I know what a great service the community transport scheme is and I want to do what I can to help especially for people with disabilities who need to get as close to the hospital as possible.

“I am supporting the call for a designated bay for community transport service close to the main entrance and I am pleased to see some progress being made.”

Ms Young said the trust would be writing to Green Community Travel this week.