Visitors to two Glasgow hospital sites are being reminded that new car parking arrangements will be introduced later this month. From Sunday the 25th, there will be a number of changes in the car parks at the Stobhill Hospital campus and the Southern General site.
A sliding scale of charges will now be payable by staff, patients and visitors at both of these hospital sites, as part of a package of improvements to the facilities. These two hospitals are part of phase two of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's car parking policy.
The implementation has followed a widespread review of the not-for-profit scheme, after specific concerns were raised regarding the level of the charges. A number of improvements were made on the original proposals, including pegging the maximum daily charge for members of the public at £7, introducing a sliding scale for staff and increasing the number of patients and visitors who will park entirely free of charge.
Members of the public visiting either the Southern General or the Stobhill sites from November 25th will pay according to a sliding scale of charges:
* More than 5 hours £7.
* 4-5 hours £4
* 3-4 hours £2.50
* 2-3 hours £1.50
* 0-2 hours £1
Tom Divers, Chief Executive of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: "These changes are all about shifting the balance of our car parks to make sure they're safe and that patients and visitors - particularly disabled people - can get spaces when they need them.
"Our priority must be to provide safe, well-managed car parking for patients, visitors and essential car users among our staff.
"It is also a national policy, and one adopted and supported by the NHS, to support and promote environmentally friendly transport initiatives which reduce reliance on cars. All revenue generated by the scheme is strictly ring-fenced under Scottish Government guidelines and can be used solely to run and improve the car parks, and to develop better transport links and green transport initiatives."
The package of parking changes also includes extensive improvements in provision for disabled drivers. From November 25th there will be dedicated free spaces created on both sites (as there have been in the Phase One sites, and will be at the other sites in later phases) for disabled parking. Disabled badge holders may park free in any public car park space on any site, and there has been strong support from disabled support groups. Mr John Thompson from the Murray Foundation says the changes made an enormous difference for disabled people: "From my point of view, the changes in our hospital car parks have been hugely successful. For the first time in years, I can turn up for a hospital appointment or for visiting time and know that I'll be able to park, and be able to park in safety.
"There's not the slightest doubt in my mind that this is because of the policy and the monitoring, and the provision of a number of convenient disabled spaces. The terrible abuse of disabled spaces that we have seen for many years is all but gone in the hospitals where they now have proper monitoring by car park staff.
"And it's not just about the provision of disabled spaces, the drop-off points are vital too. Lots of disabled and elderly people are fortunate enough to be helped by volunteer drivers, who use the drop-off points to make sure you can get as close as possible to hospital entrances. Now that there are staff monitoring the car parks, these are properly policed.
"I've been an amputee for 50 years, I've worked with the Murray Foundation amputee support group for 10 years, and have been campaigning on various Health Board Committees for better disabled access and parking facilities in and around hospitals. I can honestly say these changes have been for the better."
Among the range of other improvements that accompany charges is a provision for low-income drivers to park for free. Frequently attending visitors for longer stay patients and children younger than 16 will be eligible for concessionary charges. The penalty for inappropriate parking will be £40 (which will be reduced to £20 if paid within two weeks)
Arrangements for staff are based on an employee's need to access a car to do his or her job, and the frequency of the journeys made. Those whose job is totally dependent on having access to a car (e.g. community midwives) will qualify for free parking. The remaining eligible staff with permits will pay the following charges:
* Staff earning more than £30k will pay £40 per month (£2 per day).
* Staff earning between £10k and £30k will pay £25 per month (around £1.25 per day)
* Staff earning less than £10k will pay £5 a month (around 25p per day)
The policy, which was developed following lengthy public consultation and debate in 2005, will be rolled out to the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, Inverclyde Royal Hospital in Greenock and Vale of Leven Hospital in Alexandria early next year.
For more information contact NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde on 0141 201 4429. The full NHSGGC Car Parking Policy is available on our website at www.nhsggc.org.uk.