Ipswich: Parking fee fears over move of minor injuries unit to Ipswich Hospital

IPSWICH: Concern has today been raised that patients visiting a new minor injuries unit at Ipswich Hospital will be forced to pay for parking.

At the Riverside Clinic, in Landseer Road, parking is free but new plans to move the centre to the Heath Road site have provoked an outcry from Star readers, concerned at having to fork out to cover the hospital’s parking rates and find a space at busy times.

Health bosses behind the move said today it is vital members of the public give their views, including those on parking, in a bid to help shape the new plans.

It has emerged the idea behind opening the unit, to take the pressure off Ipswich Hospital’s emergency department, has not worked - costing �6million since it opened in 2006.

As a result NHS Suffolk, GP commissioners and A&E staff at the hospital are today working towards relocating the minor injuries service in Ipswich to the trust. Dave Hartin, lead consultant in emergency medicine at Ipswich Hospital, said the proposals will lead to less confusion for patients about where to go.

But responding to the plans, reader Daniel Fountain posted a comment on the Star’s website about the changes.

He said: “What really needs addressing to make this work is the parking (lack of and cost of) at Ipswich Hospital.

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“The clinic could be just as good at the hospital but we all know the parking is not going to be as easy or cheap.”

And another reader added: “I can understand the logic, but it will put even more pressure on car parking space and costs. At least Riverside had its own free car parking spaces.”

A spokesman for NHS Suffolk said: “It is important that people give us their views on how the planned relocation of the minor injuries service will affect them. This includes their views on parking.”

To fill out a questionnaire visit www.suffolk.nhs.uk/riverside

While the minor injuries unit at Riverside will relocate, other services provided at the out-of-hours base will remain open.

n What do you think about the changes? Will they benefit patients? Write to health reporter Lizzie Parry, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail lizzie.parry@archant.co.uk