NHS Greater Glasgow is planning a radical green transport policy as part of a £1billion hospital modernisation programme in consultation with strategic partners.
During the next 10 years Glasgow's outdated hospitals will be replaced with state-of-the-art modern facilities and as part of this process the NHS is determined to take advantage of the opportunity to promote healthier travel options.
Subsidised public transport schemes for staff, new improved bus, rail and subway links and new cycle lanes along with substantial investment in personal patient transport services are on the agenda.
A transport co-ordinator will be appointed by NHS Greater Glasgow to drive forward the healthier, greener transport agenda along with partners in local authorities and the Strathclyde Passenger Transport Executive.
Staff car journeys within the NHS currently number a staggering five million a year. By encouraging car sharing schemes, subsidising public transport on faster more direct and safer networks staff health will be improved and Glasgow's environment made healthier.
On the agenda is pay as you go car parks at city hospitals… the revenue from which could be ploughed into greener and healthier transport options. An option is to keep short stay charges low with increased rates for all-day parking.
Staff parking issues will be the subject of detailed consultation with NHS staff and trades unions.
As one of Glasgow's biggest employers, NHS Greater Glasgow will set new standards in reducing congestion and the harmful pollution it causes.
Reductions in traffic congestion will also deliver faster and more effective road links to hospitals in emergency situations.
As well as building new hospitals at Stobhill, Victoria, Southern General, Gartnavel, and completing the Glasgow Royal development, a significant part of the ambitious modernisation plan revolves around:
· Helping to reduce the serious congestion that is threatening to grind the city to a halt – more traffic on the roads makes it increasingly difficult for ambulance crews to rush seriously ill people to hospital;
· Creating opportunities for staff to leave their cars at home – providing shower facilities for cyclists and secure storage for bikes, exploring ways of helping staff who have childcare issues, looking at subsidising public transport costs;
· Assisting patients who have problems getting to hospitals for appointments – this could involve establishing a patient transport service which would transport the patient from home to hospital and back again;
· Issues around health – apart from helping to reduce the harmful effects of pollution, our transport plans to encourage staff and visitors to walk, cycle or take public transport to hospital sites will also have a beneficial affect on their health.
· Improvement in safety and access for the disabled and older people.
· Specific improvements to public transport links from communities directly to hospitals to ease visitor transportation.
The environmental aspect of the modernisation programme is being led by NHS Greater Glasgow's Transport Group.
Full public/patient consultation involving NHS Greater Glasgow's 33,000 staff will feature throughout the green transport policy plan as it evolves over the next decade.
One of the first actions of this policy will surround the transport and parking issues at Glasgow Royal Infirmary where a new pay and park multi-storey car park is planned next year as part of a comprehensive transport programme.
Transport Group Chair, Jonathan Best, who is also the Chief Executive of Yorkhill NHS Trust, said: "Transport infrastructure is a fundamental part of our plans to create better services for the patients and people of Glasgow.
"We are working at the highest levels with our partners in the City Council and SPTE to make changes to current and future transport provision to ensure our hospital sites are as green as they can be.
"Over the next ten years, the Transport Group will be working with partners in local authorities, transport providers, staffside representation, patient groups and communities to ensure that each hospital has its own resourced green travel plan.
"These plans will increase travel options for our staff, improve access for our staff, patients and visitors and help reduce congestion and its health damaging pollution.
"The Health Service in Glasgow, as a major employer, must develop a coordinated response to the challenges presented by transport – we must work with our 30,000 plus employees to see how we can help reduce congestion and pollution.
"It is also in the best interests of the Health Service now, and increasingly in the future, to reduce congestion on our roads and to help make them safer places for pedestrians, cyclists, drivers and passengers."
Bill Goudie, Employee Director with NHS Greater Glasgow, said: "The modernisation programme provides a real opportunity to tackle some of the major issues surrounding transport problems and environmental pollution in Glasgow.
"I welcome this move towards a greener Health Service and am pleased to see that staff will have a role in helping to develop the green travel plans for the hospital sites."
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