QA considers car park swap to improve visitor access

Hospital bosses are considering swapping car parks, making it wasier for visitors to park closer to the emergency department and cutting the number of fine handed out. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (142743-411)
Hospital bosses are considering swapping car parks, making it wasier for visitors to park closer to the emergency department and cutting the number of fine handed out. ''Picture: Allan Hutchings (142743-411)

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A REVIEW is taking place to see if more parking can be offered to hospital visitors and cut down the number of fines handed out to drivers.

Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust (PHT), which runs Queen Alexandra Hospital, said it is looking at making 100 spaces available to patients and visitors that require payment upon exit.

It comes after complaints that people using pay and display parking bays for emergencies or appointments are getting fined for not putting in enough money and going over the time they have paid.

People have said appointments can overrun, or in an emergency finding change for the machines is not a priority.

Peter Mellor, director of corporate affairs and business development for PHT, said: ‘We are considering another payment on exit car park for patients, and that means they can park closer to the emergency department.

‘When we designed this set up, it wasn’t very obvious then.

‘But clearly this situation isn’t acceptable and we need to speak to Carillion about this and see if it can be changed.’

Talks are being held with firm Carillion, which is a private company that runs the car park on behalf of PHT under a Private Finance Initiative.

At the moment there is only one public barrier car park, which is close to the hospital’s main entrance, but not close to the emergency department.

Mr Mellor added: ‘We are looking to see if one of the barrier staff car parks can be swapped with pay and display bays.

‘We need to make sure these are in the right positions, and we don’t want a queue of people trying to get in the car park.

‘Often staff and receptionists, or nurses, can inform security who will tell wardens about a patient’s position and ensure a ticket isn’t put on a car.

‘That seems to work quite well, but there also needs to be recognition that when emotions are involved then parking is the last thing on anyone’s mind.’

Plans are being drawn up to see if the first floor of the east entrance car park, which is barrier-controlled, can be used by patients instead.

‘There are about 100 spaces on the first floor, and there are about 100 pay and display places around the hospital site,’ added Mr Mellor.

‘If we are going to swap then we need to make sure it’s do-able and won’t cause blockages for access to and from the hospital.

‘The review shouldn’t take too long, but it is something we need to do, along with consulting the staff.’