CAMPAIGNERS say that a change to the route of a bus serving Fairfield Hospital meaning it will no longer serve the hospital grounds, will adversely affect elderly patients.

The 468 bus, which is operated by Rosso and runs from Tottington to Rochdale via Bury and the main entrance to the hospital, will no longer enter hospital grounds from Sunday.

Pressure group Greater Manchester Transport Campaign, opposes the changes and claims it could lead to people tripping and falling, especially in icy or wet conditions, as they will have to walk to the hospital buildings from the main road.

The hourly 475 service from Bury to Heywood will still serve the hospital from Monday to Saturday, but is less frequent than the 468.

Peter Garvey, from the Greater Manchester Transport Campaign, said: “It is going to be horrendous.

If you are fit and well there will be no problem, but if you’re not, can you imagine what it will be like in winter with icy pavements?”

Mr Garvey said the issue has been created by a lack of enforcement of illegal parking that has made it difficult for buses to get through.

He believed that Rosso had withdrawn the direct service to the hospital because of the difficulties in accessing the bus stop in the grounds.

He added: “The hospital management has not realised that by not keeping the access roads clear, they are going to have a lot more standing traffic when this bus doesn’t come down anymore, with more hospital transport vehicles and cars.

“We have written to the hospital on three occasions and each time the situation has improved for a short while, then it has gone back again.”

Barry Waterhouse, travel and access manager at The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Fairfield, denied it was a problem.

He said: “We are disappointed that Rosso has decided to change the route of their 468 bus service so that it only stops outside Fairfield Hospital and does not drive into the hospital site.

"While we weren’t advised of this decision by Rosso in advance, we would be happy to speak with them about their decision.

“The number 468 and 475 buses will still stop outside the hospital providing good access to the building.

“Our parking wardens regularly patrol the site to keep the roadways clear and issue penalties to inconsiderate drivers who park on double yellow lines and impede emergency vehicles and bus drivers.”

A spokesman for Transport for Greater Manchester added: “The 468 is a commercial service run by Rosso. The decision to re-route it has been taken by the operator and not by TfGM.

“Fairfield Hospital is still served by service 475, which runs every hour on Monday to Saturday daytimes.”

Rosso was unavailable for comment.