‘Major concern’ over parking at hospitals
CALL FOR UPGRADE CASH TO BE USED TO EASE PROBLEM
FINDING a parking space at Nottingham’s hospitals has been described as a “major headache” for patients, visitors and staff as plans are launched to try and rectify the situation amid fears it is getting worse.
The concerns from councillors come after staff anonymously spoke out about the situation which is leaving them stressed and wanting to quit.
The Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) carried out four weeks of consultation over a multi-million pound upgrade plan for Nottingham University Hospitals. It took place in March and some of the predominant concerns raised were over parking at the City Hospital and Queen’s Medical Centre.
NUH is one of 40 acute trusts to receive funding to rebuild and improve its operations, but councillors have now also backed calls to improve parking as part of this. They demanded a solution from health bosses during a health scrutiny committee meeting at County Hall.
Chairwoman of the committee, councillor Sue Saddington, said: “While you are doing this you are bringing more people into the City Hospital and Queen’s and the major, major problem that we have is there isn’t sufficient parking.
“I think it needs to come first because all these people have to get there for various appointments, you’ve got staff working there, you haven’t got the tram that you’ve got at Queen’s. I would say it is a major concern.”
She says rebuilding services and moving them around, without any new parking facilities, would become a “major headache”.
Responding, Mark Wightman, director of reconfiguration for reshaping services at the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG, said: “We will be looking at car parking at Queen’s as one of the first things that will be a key enabler to the rest of this project.
“Not least because we all know it is very difficult to park your car in any hospital in the UK, and Queen’s is no exception. Car parking is very, very front and centre in these proposals.”
However, he said they must keep “one eye” on the environment and reducing carbon emissions.
Councillor Mike Adams, who represents Trent Valley for the Conservatives, said that parking was the first impression a visitor or patient gets when arriving at hospital.
“If that first step is stressful then arguably you are adding to that stressful experience for the whole time you are there,” he said.
He added that cars were sometimes the only way to get to hospital, adding: “I cannot imagine what the journey to the maternity hospital could have been with my wife if we had been on the bus.
“I dread to think what would have happened.”
Mr Wightman said they will be working to see how they can reduce the need for outpatient appointments at hospitals, including “rebalancing” digital appointments with face-to-face visits.
He added: “I have got to say there isn’t a hospital in the country that has anywhere near adequate parking.
“If you go outside the shopping centre in Nottingham, then the next biggest public space is the hospitals, in terms of footfall.
“It is somewhere in the region of 1.3m people a year. Seventy per cent, on average, is the number of people who will do that journey by car.
“Just do the maths and you will probably need four or five football pitches to park your car.
“It is always a balance in the NHS between adequate parking for those people that need it versus the alternative.”
A formal consultation will launch on the NUH plans later this year.