BOSSES at Scarborough Hospital have admitted they are rethinking the car parking situation following controversy over fines and lack of spaces.
Parking enforcement at the site only started on February 1, but hospital chiefs have already been in discussions about how they can make changes to the system.
Two of the main ideas are a park and ride system for patients and staff, and the construction of a multi-storey car park with pay-on-exit barriers.
Since last month patients and staff have been hit with £60 parking tickets for failing to pay and display or for not parking in a bay.
On the first day of enforcement alone 25 tickets were handed out – one to a surgeon who had turned up for work and found there were no spaces left.
James Hayward, the health trust’s facilities director, said: “We do however recognise that there are, at peak times, significant pressures on the number of spaces.
“This can cause frustration to patients, visitors and staff alike and we are looking at options for solving this problem in the medium term. This includes looking at the feasibility of introducing a park and ride scheme or alternatively the construction of a multi-storey car park with pay-on-exit barriers.
“In the short term we are aware that there are actions needed to resolve concerns from patients attending outpatients who pay for a given time. If the clinic overruns and their appointment is late, this can cause worry that they may receive a penalty charge notice. We are urgently looking at implementing a system to address this issue.”
Mr Hayward has met with members of the Scarborough branch of the Local Involvement Network (LINk) which is the official voice of patients and the public.
The group’s chairman, Leo McGrory, had raised concerns about parking after speaking to members of the public.
He said: “Few things have caused so much controversy in recent times. We fully support the trust in that the clear passage of ambulances and buses must be ensured.
“However, the main issues are that there are not enough spaces and that people are worried about getting a ticket
when appointments overrun.”
Mr Hayward said a system will be implemented shortly where patients are given an explanatory note to say the clinic was running late.
There is currently no date set for the start of the park and ride system, but Mr Hayward said that North Yorkshire County Council has, in principle, agreed to let the scheme run from the Seamer Road park and ride site.
A shuttle bus will be provided to and from the hospital. The scheme will be for staff at first then, if successful, could be extended to a regular public service.
Mr Hayward added that despite certain difficulties, the parking enforcement system had brought some positive changes.
He said: “Since the introduction of the current arrangements we have seen a significant improvement in the flow of traffic and safety for pedestrians.”
He also added that the meeting with LINk had been a very positive one and that the group has agreed to meet with trust representatives again on a regular basis to maintain close dialogue and improved communications regarding the car parking issue.