Patients needing to travel to hospital are being forced to use up to three buses to get there from Chessington.

A patients’ group has called for a feasibility study for a community bus service to Epsom, Tolworth and Surbiton hospitals.

In recent years vulnerable Chessington residents have been left in the lurch after direct bus routes to nearby Epsom Hospital have been stopped and direct bus routes to Tolworth Hospital or even the new Surbiton hospital remain non-existent.

The Merritt Medical Centre Patient Participation Group in Chessington has put forward the idea of a community bus service driven by volunteers to all nearby hard-to-reach hospitals.

Member and ex-chairman of the participation group Mike Hoare, 76, said: “With the exception of Kingston Hospital, the other three hospitals nearby we can go to have no viable public transport links.

“All I ask is whether the use of a community bus service and research into the use of a community bus would be viable.

“There are groups of people who do not have private transport.

“The community bus would benefit the elderly, the disabled and people without cars.”

The 71 bus route from Chessington has been passing the new Surbiton Hospital site in Ewell Road for weeks now, having been redirected due to road works in the area.

Councillor Patricia Bamford said: “Transport for London (TfL) said the bus cannot be redirected, but we have seen it [being done] for weeks.”

The 465 bus route previously incorporated Epsom Hospital however this route has since been changed as TfL has no responsibility for the majority of routes in Surrey.

Chairwoman of the health overview scrutiny committee Councillor Margaret Thompson said: “The new Surbiton Hospital will have outpatient clinics and other major services so people might not have any other choice but to go there.

“I think a community bus could be a good idea, but the problem would be who is going to pay for it staff it?

“As a Chessington councillor it is important to me that we have equal access to services.”

Bob Blitz, network planning manager for London Buses, said the new health centre would be served by three bus routes 281, 406 and the 418 with passengers travelling from the Chessington, changing at Surbiton station.

He said: "A direct bus link from the Chessington area has been investigated but we consider that there would not be enough new demand to merit the change.

“Passengers wishing to travel to Epsom Hospital from Chessington can use the route 467 to Epsom and change onto route 293. There are no plans to provide a direct service at this time.”

The community bus will be discussed at a health overview meeting on June 19