READER’S OPINION: I’m a victim of ‘the QA zone’

Ambulances queueing at Queen Alexandra Hospital.  Picture: Ellie Pilmoor
Ambulances queueing at Queen Alexandra Hospital. Picture: Ellie Pilmoor

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I think a lot of us are guilty of being in ‘the zone’ while driving.

To be honest, I am either on auto-pilot on a route most common to me or being fully aided by my co-pilot the irreplaceable Sat Nav.

Signs come and go and the mind is focused on the day ahead or listening attentive to the directions for the next turning, equally, most trips pass without incident and certainly offence.

However, a trip to the QA Hospital recently put me in a completely different zone and, I have to confess, that I became one of the 3,500 people that have received penalty notices.

Suffering from ‘white-coat syndrome’ from a very young age a trip to the doctor’s or the hospital is very daunting to me, even as a visitor and here it was a journey, as a driver, to take my wife for consultation test results before a major operation.

Having not been to the QA Hospital for many years it was an experience fraught with confusion and direction but ultimately increased by the sheer volume of vehicles and, of course, the diminishing time to meet your appointment.

Somehow, having entered from the Cosham end of the QA, we find ourselves back on the Southampton Road and heading towards Paulsgrove, so a sharp U-turn and we are back in the grounds of the QA Hospital looking for a parking bay.

There was no thought or gain to how we arrived there (we were back in the queue of vehicles), just concentration on the events ahead and the time.

When we received the photograph of our vehicle in the bus lane (that was obviously the route our sharp U-turn had taken us) we first of all thought it was an error and couldn’t even recognise the road.

However, on inspection it is clear it is our vehicle and there is an abundance of awareness signage displayed, as stated by Cllr Jim Fleming, that neither driver or passenger had any recollection of at all.

So, all I can say is that it is clearly apparent to us that potential patients and visitors alike driving to the QA Hospital are in a completely different zone, all 3,500 of us, that clouds the concentration and awareness of the mind to the degree that a vast amount of signage is not recognised.

The only solution I can offer is to have the bus ‘drop-down’ bollard system (as the one at Langstone) if the council really wishes the public not to be fined, to prevent access for anybody other than buses or emergency vehicles?

* This letter was submitted to The News by Dean Kimber of North Shore, Hayling Island