STAGECOACH'S decision to improve its S7 bus route from West Oxfordshire to the John Radcliffe Hospital by dropping off passengers at the entrance is welcome but the firm still has a way to go before it meets passengers’ needs.

When the S7 was first introduced as a dedicated service to take district residents to the county’s main hospital, there was disbelief that it was dropping off passengers at the edge of the hospital site.

While the company has finally agreed the service should go the extra distance, making a big difference to elderly and disabled passengers, they are still being told that they will have to walk half-a-mile to a stop in Headley Way.

Unfortunately, although our NHS doctors and nurses do their very best to make us feel better when we are ill, they are not magicians and a trip to the hospital will not instantly make that walk any better for those who find it difficult in the first place.

There are also concerns that the bus is not being used as much as it could be, because it is only running in the middle of the day, outside the peak hours.

This means staff at the JR and the other hospitals in Headington, or staff and students at Oxford Brookes University cannot benefit from the direct link.

If it is not used, because of these fundamental flaws, it could be scrapped, which would put us back to square one, with people using their cars – only adding to the congestion Stagecoach blames for problems timetabling the service – or having to change buses in Oxford.

No one expects Stagecoach to wave a magic wand but it surely needs to go the full distance, picking up passengers from the hospital buildings and adding extra buses at times JR staff can use the service.