Victoria Prentis, Member of Parliament for North Oxfordshire, and her team have now compiled the responses to her survey on travel times between the Banbury area and Oxford’s hospitals. Victoria received 377 individual completed surveys. The data shows that it takes people, on average, 1 hour and 20 minutes to travel from the Banbury area to an Oxford hospital. It takes, on average, a further 20 minutes to park. The average patient travelling from the Banbury area will therefore enter a hospital in Oxford approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes after leaving their point of departure.
Commenting on the data, Victoria said, “It came as no surprise to discover that the average journey time from my constituency to the Oxford hospitals, including parking, is over an hour and a half. The Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group (OCCG) maintains that the average journey time from Banbury to Oxford is 45 minutes. The data I have collected show this to not be the case.
“The majority of my constituents live within 10 miles of the Horton General Hospital – a much-loved, well-regarded and easy to access hospital. The Oxford hospitals are not easily accessible for the people of North Oxfordshire. It is vital that the OCCG take this into account when making any decisions about the future of NHS services in the county.”
At the beginning of January, Victoria Prentis MP launched a travel survey to collect information about times between the Banbury area and Oxford’s hospitals. The data has been collected to help inform the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group’s (OCCG) ongoing consultation about the future of NHS services in the county.
The distance between Banbury and Oxford has been a key factor in determining the organisation of health services to date. In 2008, a plan to move obstetric-led maternity services away from Banbury was rejected on the basis that the John Radcliffe Hospital was too far and too inaccessible for the residents of north Oxfordshire. It is widely accepted that since 2008 traffic in and around Oxford has become a larger issue, and that subsequently the travel situation is worse today than a decade ago.
Victoria was anxious to ensure that people’s real experiences were included in the consultation process. She asked people in north Oxfordshire, south Northamptonshire and south Warwickshire to record how long it took them to travel between home and an Oxford hospital for an appointment. Participants also submitted data on the time it took them to park at the hospital and what time of day they travelled.
Victoria received responses from addresses in north Oxfordshire, south Northamptonshire and south Warwickshire. The closest address from which a surveyed journey originated was 12.4 miles from the John Radcliffe. The furthest away was 43.4 miles. The vast majority of respondents (84.3%) travelled between 20 and 30 miles to reach the John Radcliffe. 7.4% travelled over 30 miles to reach Oxford. The Horton General Hospital is 28.8 miles from the John Radcliffe (via the M40). None of the respondents travelled from within 10 miles of the JR. 97.3% live within 10 miles of the Horton.
Time of day
Victoria asked respondents to let her know the time of day that they travelled. The earliest journey was started at 0530. The latest journey was started 1740. Of the journeys surveyed, 48.3% were started between 0500 and 0859, 31.4% between 0900 and 1200, and 19% between 1200 and 1800.
As can be seen in Appendix 1, the time of day appears to have little impact on the total journey time. However, journeys into Oxford taken between 6am and 9am appear to take slightly longer than those taken between 9am and noon or noon and 6pm. The data demonstrates the unpredictability of the journey, regardless of the time of day.
Time taken to travel and park
The amount of time it took to travel to Oxford from the Banbury area varied greatly among respondents. This is in part owing to the variety of distances and the different modes of transport used. It takes people, on average, 1 hour and 20 minutes to travel from the Banbury area to an Oxford hospital. It takes, on average, a further 20 minutes to park. The quickest journey, from time of departure to entering the hospital, was completed in 35 minutes. The longest journey, which was undertaken by public transport (bus to the train station, train, then two further buses), took 4 hours and 10 minutes.
The parking problem has been acknowledged by OUHFT, which advises patients to allow up to an hour to park when visiting the JR. Respondents who travelled by public transport did not complete this section of the survey.
On average, it took people 20 minutes to park. 22.4% of respondents were able to park within 5 minutes of arriving at the hospital car park. It took 20% of respondents between 30 and 60 minutes to park. It took 3.7% of respondents more than 60 minutes to park.
Mode of transport
8.5% used public transport for all or part of their journey. 79.9% used a private car for the entire journey. 11.6% used other forms of transport, such as taxis and hospital transport.