Royal Preston Hospital’s chief executive has vowed anyone who incurs a wait because of the new pay stations ‘is not at risk of receiving a parking charge notice’.Advertisement
Karen Partington, chief exec of Lancashire Teaching Hospitals, which is responsible for RPH and Chorley, was responding to questions from Preston MP Sir Mark Hendrick.
Sir Mark had written to Ms Partington for an update about the issues with car parking at the hospital since the introduction of Parking Eye.
He said: “I am writing to ask that you provide me with an updated on the issues with the car parks, particularly as the public are discomforted by this scheme.
“I am hearing that the new scheme seems to having issues with machines breaking down, key-pads being too small, long queues and having to reclaim money, if entitled to it, from the General Office, which may entail a long walk for some.
“I am also aware that local residents are non-too happy due to the increased numbers of visitors parking on the streets surrounding the hospital.
“I would be grateful if you could share with me any assessments that have been undertaken and any actions undertaken by the Governors prior to and since the implementation of the scheme.”
Read more: Student nurse starts petition over hospital ‘parking nightmare’
Number-plate recognition systems were introduced at RPH and Chorley just before Christmas, but the system was branded a ‘farce’ with limited numbers of payment machines working.
It saw the old pay-and-display system removed, with drivers instead charged for the exact amount of time they were at the hospital.
A number of changes were also made to who was eligible for concessionary parking at the hospitals during visits, or discount rates.
Read more: What you need to know about Preston hospital parking changes
Ms Partington said in response to Sir Mark Hendrick: “I am aware that some of the newly-installed car park payment machines were initially not as reliable as we would have wanted. In some instances this led to patients and visitors queuing for unacceptable lengths of time to pay, for which we can only apologise. We have addressed these reliability issues with the supplier, and have installed extra payment machines at the busiest locations at both our hospitals.
“Recognising that some people will initially not be familiar with the new technology and payment methods and may need some assistance, we are providing dedicated staff on site each day to help and advise any patients and visitors who may require it. Software updates have also been undertaken to increase the size of the on-screen keypad and simplify the payment process, as patient and visitor feedback had identified these as particular problems. I am however pleased to say that a large proportion of our patients and visitors are now taking advantage of the additional payment methods offered by the new technology, including payment by credit / debit card or online, neither of which was available under our old system
“I can assure you that anyone who experienced difficulties in paying for their parking owing to the unreliability of the pay-stations is not at risk of receiving a parking charge notice, and we will happily provide a refund to anyone who believes that they faced an increased parking cost as a result of having been delayed in a queue to pay during this initial period.
“With regard to our new concessionary parking charge policy, we have recognised that some patients who are eligible for reduced cost parking may not always find it easy to attend the hospital general office in order to obtain their concessionary voucher. We have therefore arranged for departments that have a high proportion of eligible patients, including our Rosemere Cancer Centre and renal dialysis units, to be provided with the means to issue these concessions to their patients locally.
“Finally, I am aware of the issues raised by local residents with regard to hospital visitors and staff parking in local roads. This has been a long-running issue and as you will appreciate the Trust has no powers to instruct its staff where they may park when outside the boundary of the hospital site. We do however constantly reinforce with our staff that if they choose to park in the local residential areas they should do so with consideration for our neighbours and avoid blocking driveways or obstructing access. We continue to work closely with the Council and the Police on this matter.
“I hope that this provides assurance that we have taken the necessary remedial action to address the initial problems with the new parking technology, and that we have listened to and acted upon feedback from our patients and visitors.”
Read more: Facebook group started to share driveways near RPH
What do you think about the parking situation at RPH? Do you work there or have to visit there often? Let us know your views in the comments below