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Nottingham hospital parking labelled a ‘major problem’ adding to stress for patients, visitors and staff

todayJune 19, 2022 1

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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 transform 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 immensely 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 both 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 facilities as part of this. They demanded a solution from health bosses during a recent health scrutiny committee meeting at County Hall.

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Chairwoman of the committee councillor Sue Saddington said: “While you are doing this you are bringing more people in to the City Hospital and Queen’s and the major, major problem that we as members here have is there isn’t sufficient parking. I think whereas you might be thinking you can do the parking last.

“I think it needs to come first because all these people have got to get there for various appointments, you’ve got staff working there, you haven’t got the tram that you’ve got at the 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, the director of reconfiguration for reshaping services at the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire CCG, said: “One of the first things 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 in no exception to that. Car parking is very, very front and centre in these proposals.”

However he says they must keep “one eye” on the environment and reducing carbon emissions. Councillor Mike Adams, who represents Trent Valley for the Conservatives, joined the discussion to use the birth of his children as a prime example of why people may choose to use cars to get to hospital.

He said: “It is such an important thing and getting that right at that point, that’s the first sort of impression of the hospital that you get. If that first step is stressful then arguably you are adding to that stressful experience for you the whole time you are there.

“I think that is why it is so important it is quick, you don’t add it to the additional reasons that you are there. I cannot disagree about the environmental challenges but I think there has got to be a realism in this with a regards to care.

“If you’ve got to get there, you’ve got to get there in a car. I literally cannot imagine what the journey to the maternity hospital could have been with my wife if we had been on the bus in that situation. I dread to think what would have happened.

“You have always got to think about how we can mitigate environmental impacts of vehicles but I do think when it comes to things like this it is so important that people get that first impression, their stress levels are low, that we get it right and we accommodate it for the right amount of cars and visitors and we don’t undercut it trying to meet some sort of target that we could find other ways to mitigate to help meet the net zero targets of a visit to hospital.”

Mr Wightman says 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. 70% 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 Tomorrow’s NUH plans later this year.

Written by: thehitnetwork

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