NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has today confirmed its car parking charges to be applied on a phased basis across its main hospitals.
The charges have been designed to ensure the vast majority of patients and visitors will pay no more than £1.00 per visit.
The not-for-profit parking scheme will deliver vastly improved disabled access and safer parking areas.
From the start of April, the policy - which will see the introduction of fair and equitable car parking charges across Glasgow and Clyde hospitals and Health Board headquarters – will come into force across five sites.
The charges will first be introduced at the Western Infirmary, Gartnavel General Hospital, the Royal Hospital for Sick Children and the Queen Mother’s Hospital at Yorkhill, the Victoria Infirmary and Health Board headquarters.
The other main hospital sites will follow in due course.
Alex McIntyre, Director of Facilities, said: “Parking charges are being introduced in response to growing and often severe congestion in our hospital car parks, as well as planning and other obligations.
“In part this congestion is caused by shoppers, commuters and others using our hospitals to park for long periods in the day for free. We want to make sure that patients and visitors - the people who actually use our services - have a far better chance of getting a parking space. The parking tariff has been designed specifically to cater for our many thousands of outpatients and visitors – almost all of whom require to park between one and three hours.”
The charging levels, which will be the same in all NHS-operated car parks (the multi-storey city centre car park at Glasgow Royal Infirmary run by a private company operates a different tariff), will see the average patient or visitor paying £1.00 per visit. The tariff is £1.00 for the first two hours, which would cover the vast majority of hospital outpatient appointments and visits. Thereafter the tariff increases by a pound for every hour up to seven hours, after which the maximum rate of £12.00 is applied.
Special concessions will be made for parents and guardians of children undergoing extended treatment. Disabled drivers will park free and people on low incomes will be able to reclaim the cost of parking.
In addition hospital managers will be able to use their discretion to waive fees in exceptional circumstances, such as service led delays on scheduled appointments.
The policy – which is being implemented following lengthy public consultation and debate in 2005 – sees staff and patient and visitor car parks separated for the first time, with the balance of spaces provided in favour of patients and visitors.
The move has had strong support from disabled support groups.
Mr John R. Thompson from the Murray Foundation supports the action taken to make parking in hospital for those with disabilities hassle free.
Mr Thompson said: “I have been campaigning on various Health Board Committees on behalf of the disabled community for better access and parking facilities in and around hospitals. Having been an amputee myself for 50 years and working with the Murray Foundation amputee support group for the past 10 years, I have personally experienced the abuse and misuse of our disabled spaces.
“I am delighted to hear that the new policy will increase the amount of disabled bays closest to the entrances but more importantly that they will be "policed" at all times.
“On behalf of the Murray Foundation and all the disabled community, thank you for these much needed improvements.”
Alex McIntyre added: “The new policy is not-for-profit. Every penny of the money generated from charges will be ploughed back into improved safety, lighting and providing more spaces dedicated to the people who need them most.”
For further information contact 0141 201 4429.