Kilsyth and Banton residents irate at loss of hospital service.

A direct hospital transport link has been severed - leading to claims that vulnerable elderly locals will be unable to make it to hospital appointments.

However the new service has attracted criticism from locals who have accused the bus company of getting their priorities wrong.

And the issue has been hastily added to the agenda of Banton & Kelvinhead Community Council which will meet tonight (Wednesday)

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Treasurer Marion Richardson said: “This is all very well if you are going to the shops but if people are travelling to hospital they are now going to have to change buses which is the last thing that they need.

“The fact that it’s mainly elderly people who need to go there just makes it worse,” she added.

Kilsyth Community Council chairman Scott Johnson said: “We are deeply concerned. Since the opening of the new hospital in Larbert, we have again been well served by a 1hourly bus service in both directions.

“Its removal without consultation is disappointing and sets us back considerably. We would ask First to reconsider the routing of the No 27 with immediate effect,” he added.

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The controversial change has also been slammed by MSP Jamie Hepburn who has written to first, demanding to know why this decision was taken.

He said: “We all know how stressful a visit to the hospital can be. No-one wants or needs the added time cost and worry that comes with not having a direct route.

“I am also concerned about the levels of consultation that may have taken place,” added the Scottish Nationalist.

John Gorman, Operations Director, First Scotland East stated that this process did take place but then admitted that it was confined to Falkirk.

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Mr Gorman said: “ The alteration to the route of service 27 was decided following passenger feedback which indicated that a more direct route to Falkirk would be more popular.

“ I can assure customers that prior to making this decision we carefully reviewed passenger numbers. However, it was clear that very few people use the service to Forth Valley Royal Hospital - we think the service will attract more customers and be more popular with existing passengers if we implement a more direct route.

Mr Gorman said that a number of services to the hospital were funded by the local authority - but this did not include the 27.

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