IPSWICH Hospital is to slash the price it charges patients to park their cars.

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The announcement, which will come into effect at the start of October, flies in the face of a national trend that has seen a quarter of all hospital trusts increase their car parking charges in the last year.

But health campaigners and nursing unions, who welcomed the news for patients, said a decision to increase staff tariffs was “disappointing”.

Bosses at the Ipswich Hospital NHS Trust revealed yesterday that along with introducing lower charges for longer stays, patients will also be able to park free for 30 minutes in drop off areas.

Some ticket prices will be reduced by as much as £1.40.

Jeff Calver, Associate Director of Estate, said the new tariffs were introduced to reflect what patients and visitors have told the hospital in feedback.

He added: “We’ve listened to what our patients, visitors and staff say about car-parking and hope these new changes will greatly improve people’s experience of using the hospital car-parks.

“We know that many people only need to visit the hospital for very brief periods of time, to bring a friend or relative into hospital for an appointment, or to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy for example. We’ve made car-parking free for 30 minutes in the drop off bays around the hospital site.”

The price of parking for one hour for patients will drop from £1.50 to £1, two hours will go from £2.80 to £2 and three hours will go from £4.10 to £3.

Patients or visitors staying more than three hours will be asked to pay £4 for up to four hours and £7 for more than four hours - currently drivers are charged £5.40 for four hours and £8 for six hours and over.

Mr Calver said that a range of concessionary parking tickets are available for patients who visit the hospital for radiotherapy, physiotherapy, dermatology and dialysis.

An eight visit ticket costs £2.80. Long term visitors are also able to benefit from reduced prices.

But staff who use the hospital’s car parks from November 1, will see their prices increase by 20p a day from £1.50 to £1.70.

For those who pay monthly, the cost will rise to £28.00 up from £26.00.

Mr Calver said that money received from the charges would be used to improve facilities on the hospital site, such as paying for new roads, improved car parks and better security.

He added: “We have promised that over the coming months we will invest more of the money received from car parking charges in cycle racks and shower facilities to support people cycling and walking into work.”

But Mike Kavanagh, Royal College of Nurses regional officer for Suffolk, said: “We welcome the reduction in car park charges for patients and public but it is clearly disappointing that hospital staff are being asked to pay more. These are difficult times and nurses and have had a pay freeze for the past two years at a time when the cost of living is going up.”

He added: “We will be making our views known to hospital managers.”

Health campaigner Prue Rush said that some staff did not have a choice about driving to work.

She added: “I am sure the patients will be very pleased that their charges are going down, but I’m also sure they will have a degree of sympathy with the staff.”

Tony Ramsey, Chair of the Ipswich Hospital User Group, which represents patients throughout the hospital, said: “In an ideal world, the hospital would not have to charge for car-parking. The reality is that it does have to do so to pay for much needed improvements on the hospital access roads and to manage the car-parks in a safe and secure way. I feel these changes are sensible and have taken on board what people using the hospital feel”.

6 comments

  • There is only ONE drop-off space at Haematology and OncologyRadiotherapy. So, if that can now be occupied for 30 minutes instead of just while dropping off, that's not a lot of help! And, there are insufficient Disabled spaces in that area of the hospital.

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    IaMac

    Friday, September 14, 2012

  • Great! That's going to stop staff parking in nearby streets isn't it......NOT! What happened to the new car park that was supposed to be built when the Garrett Anderson was built......let's hope they use these extra funds to start that project!

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    StarReader

    Friday, September 14, 2012

  • Staff parking on neighbouring streets is a problem which needs to be sorted. Its unacceptable that i should be inconvenienced and unable to park outside, or even near my house, because hospital workers refuse to pay for their car park, or use alternative transport.

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    hollygarratt

    Friday, September 14, 2012

  • Why should patients and staff have to pay at all to park at a hospital? This always has been just a cynical money-making scam.

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    Origami Penguin

    Saturday, September 15, 2012

  • I have always felt it somewhat cruel to have a 'tax' on the ill, or in this case those stressed family members of the ill. But a logical and reasonable view is that staff who work in any town centre probably have to pay costly car parking fees, so £28 per month for hospital employees seems not excessive. Not all job locations have attached car parking and if hospital staff did not have the adjacent car parks available to them, they would find it very inconvenient and probably more expensive to get to work. Also, it is obvious that if long-stay parking is very cheap then people will use it as a park-and-ride system for coming into Ipswich Town Centre (because parking fees there are ridiculously OVER-PRICED). But I hope that essential long-stayers could be given a permit by the Clinic or Ward after say a two hour paid-for stay. The issue which concerns me most, however, is that of family members rushing to the hospital to visit a dying relative, or following an ambulance taking a loved one to the hospital - these people need to find parking IMMEDIATELY and also not have to spend time with shaking hands to pay parking fees. I hope their needs have been given paramount consideration. If the system does not take account of their emotions then it is a cruel system.

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    Johnthebap

    Sunday, September 16, 2012

  • I'm not sure why my taxes should subsidise people who can't be bothered to walk, cycle or catch the bus to the hospital to visit patients. People dropping off and picking up patients who cannot get to and from the hospital I can understand, but it costs thousands of pounds each year for a parking space. Surely this money can be better spent on medical equipment and nurses pay.

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    JanetDunckley

    Monday, September 17, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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