Jun 22 2012 by Jennifer Buchanan, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
A TODDLER with a heart condition faces a five hour round trip to hospital after health chiefs withdrew vital funding for a bus service.
And his furious mum is worried the extra time spent hanging around bus stops will make her son’s condition even worse.
Beautiful baby Mason Crane was born on January 11, 2011 at Crosshouse maternity unit.
But when he was just a day old, nurses realised he was breathing really fast.
Mason was transferred to the special care unit for tests, and the next day it was discovered he had a heart condition.
The two-day-old baby was then moved to Yorkhill for further tests and scans, and a terrifying list of problems were revealed.
Mason had a narrowing in his aorta which meant no oxygen was reaching the lower part of his tiny body.
He also had multiple holes in his heart, a missing left kidney, a split sternum, a fused bone in his neck which means he can’t turn his head to the left, and an extra bone in his shoulder.
And none of the problems were picked up in any of the pre-natal scans.
At just one week old, Mason was operated on, his narrowed aorta was repaired and one of the holes in his tiny heart was closed.
Mason is now three and doing well but still has to travel to Crosshouse Hospital almost every month.
And, depending on clinics and follow-ups, Mason and Maureen can be at hospital three times in the space of two weeks.
And to travel from their home in Ayr to the hospital outside Kilmarnock, Maureen is totally dependent on the Ayr to Crosshouse bus service which has just changed from hourly to every two hours.
Maureen, 21, said: “Mason’s renal appointments, geneticist appointments and dietician are all at Crosshouse and on top of that if his bronchitis returns or his breathing changes I need to get to the hospital to have his sats checked.
“And I rely entirely on this bus service to get there.
“If my appointment is at 1.30pm, the bus will probably be at noon so we'll be up there half an hour early.
“Then we'll miss the 2pm bus home so I’ll have to sit around in the cold until 4pm with a sick child, not getting home until 5pm.
“I really think they should have kept the hospital bus service as it was.
“If my son’s health gets any worse because we're waiting two hours in the cold for a bus I won't be a very happy mother.”
The Ayr to Crosshouse bus service was previously funded by a £20,000 cash grant from NHS Ayrshire and Arran when clinics were centralised to the two hospitals.
But despite assurances at the time that regular transport between Ayr and Crosshouse hospitals would be provided, the health board pulled funding this year and Stagecoach now run the route 24.
Andrew Moore, assistant director of nursing, patient and community relations, said: “I have raised my concerns about the reduced timetable with Stagecoach and the regional bus service regulator, Strathclyde Partnership for Transport.”