A new 262-space car park has been unveiled at Scarborough Hospital following major problems with overcrowding dating back years.
The car park, which is specifically aimed at patients and visitors, will open on Monday.
The £900,000 project is just the first in series of plans to improve parking for visitors and staff on the site.
Programme director James Hayward explained: “We are delighted to see the opening of this car park as it has taken over four years of hard work and planning to come to fruition.
“The investment in the car park shows the solid intention of the trust to make continued and sustainable improvements for patients coming to Scarborough Hospital.”
He explained that the new facility, which is on the left-hand side as you enter the hospital site, has a “pay on exit” system, to alleviate concerns about tickets running out if appointments overrun.
Mr Hayward said: “I would say the highest number of complaints we have had have been about parking and access. It’s stressful enough coming to hospital and we want to make it less stressful.”
The trust is now planning to create a 60-space parking section near the main entrance specifically for disabled blue badge holders.
Road improvement work is being carried out near the helipad and around the main entrance to improve traffic flow.
The new facility has also been welcomed by former patient group chairman Leo McGrory, who campaigned for improved car parking for around eight years.
He said: “I think it’s terrific. It’s a major step forward and a big plus for patients. In the past, patients have had to drive round looking for a space and I’ve know some who have actually missed appointments because of it.”
Prison officer Jonathan Shutt, 37, of Norton, said: “I’ve always been able to get parked, but it would be annoying if you came and there were no spaces.”
Ann Hepworth, 52, of Whitby, was pleased to hear about improved parking for blue badge holders. She said: “It’s really good news - it will make a difference.”
Ann Gosling, 70, a retired shop assistant, of Malton, said: “Whenever we’ve spoken to people about Scarborough Hospital, they’ve all said the parking is horrendous.”
Ann’s husband Neville, 74, a retired brewery worker, said: “We’ve always found somewhere, but it has taken some driving around.”