Ipswich: Now hospital’s car park is rated as poor

THE car park at a Suffolk hospital has been rated as “poor’’ in an online survey – despite the facility making �1.3million in parking fees.

The Which Works For You online survey classed Ipswich Hospital’s Heath Road car park as a poor performer, the lowest rank in its list of categories for UK hospital car parks.

The survey also rated the car park as poor in terms of charging and payment options for customers.

However, the survey said that the car park was performing well for offering support to priority patients and for staff talking to patients and visitors.

The news also comes just days after the hospital’s treatment of elderly patients was heavily criticised in a report by the Care Quality Commission (CQC)

The report, titled Dignity and Nutrition for Older People, identified the trust as one of three failing hospitals out of 12 inspected by the CQC and revealed major shortcomings in several areas.

Suffolk-based Health campaigner Pru Rush said: “It’s a little ironic that the car park is rated as poor after making so much money for parking fees.

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“If they are providing a service for people who use the car park then they have a duty to make that area as safe and as user-friendly as possible.”

Jan Rowsell, a spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital, said: “Everything in the Which Works For You survey is clearly very beneficial for patients.

“We do aspire to be in the highest category in the survey and plan to update machinery within the car park.

“This will allow customers to make payments with credit and debit cards which is something they can’t do at the moment.”

Earlier this year we revealed that the car park had made almost �1.3 million from parking fees during 2009/10.

The figures, revealed after a Freedom of Information request, show the amount collected had gone up �400,000 compared to just four years ago. Currently, people have to pay �2.60 to park for up to two hours, �3.90 for up to three, �5.20 for up to four and �7.80 for up to six. Staying over six hours costs �11.

There are a limited number of parking spaces for 30- minute visits which cost 70p, and there are lower rates available for people having to use the car park regularly or long stay visitors.

In total, in the 2009-10 financial year, the car park at the Heath Road site made �1.28million.