From J. Baldwin, Totland Bay:
My wife has a little-known illness, called Sjogren’s Syndrome.
Because of the lack of expertise on the Island she had been travelling to Southampton General Hospital.
Even this proved quite difficult as from the Red Jet two buses were needed and often did not connect.
She was not eligible for the free bus, which is only for patients having cancer treatment.
When she needed day surgery, friends kindly took us in their car via Lymington.
She had to be there for 7.30am and we parked in the hospital car park.
As this had been a much easier journey, we took the car for her next normal appointment, which was later in the day. I entered the hospital car park but spent the next half hour looking in vain for a vacant parking spot.
In the end I had to give up, but found that I still had to pay the minimum parking charge of £2 despite not being able to park. I had to park in the road about half a mile away.
Sadly, Southampton General lacked doctors with much knowledge or expertise of this disease.
We were recommended to go to Bart’s in London where there is a specialist unit.
We could not believe how much the doctors there knew and how skilled they were at diagnosis and treatment.
However, this trip also had difficulties with traffic, ferries and costly parking.
We then tried rail to London but the Southampton train was cancelled because of driver shortages and the return trip to Portsmouth Harbour train ended up at Bognor.
After much confusion, the Portsmouth passengers all changed at Barnham. However, the replacement train only went as far as Portsmouth and Southsea not Portsmouth Harbour.
Eventually we got to the catamaran two minutes before it departed. This stress and rush was not good for my wife due to her illness.
I am writing this letter in response to the CP article about how changes to the Island health services may mean more people having to travel to the mainland. A lot already do and it certainly is expensive and very stressful.