GETTING to hospital should become easier for people in Durham's rural communities thanks to a £740,000 boost for specialist transport services.

The county council has Successfully bid for Rural Bus Challenge funding to help patients, visitors and staff from outlying areas.

A three-year Healthy Response project has been developed in partnership with the health sector, which seeks to make travelling to hospitals and other health facilities easier by introducing a range of measures, including linking appointment and travel times, improving access and developing a response centre.

Councillor Bob Pendlebury, cabinet member for transport, said: "It is an ambitious project that will have far reaching implications for similar schemes across the country."