NHS Trust – changes to staff parking permits at Stevenage’s Lister Hospital are ‘uncomfortable but necessary’
- Credit: Archant
The chief executive of an NHS Trust has said stopping about 300 staff from parking at Lister Hospital is an uncomfortable but necessary measure.
A member of staff at the Stevenage hospital contacted the Comet about the parking situation after a new policy on permits came into force earlier this month.
The shortage in parking is a consequence of the £150 million transformation of Lister – due to be completed at the end of the month – to make the facility the main acute hospital run by the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust.
The NHS Trust plans to build a new multi-storey car park specifically for staff to meet the extra demand, but this is not expected to be built for another two years.
As a result the NHS Trust has asked all staff to reapply for their permits, with some of those living up to four miles from the hospital in Coreys Mill Lane – including some SG4 and SG5 postcodes – potentially having to park elsewhere or find alternative means of transport.
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The decision on who is given permits depends on a number of factors, but frontline clinical staff are being prioritised.
The NHS Trust says it has secured discount for staff on buses which travel near to Lister, and highlights that spaces are available at Stevenage Garden Centre and car parks in the Old Town, as well as promoting car-sharing and cycling to work.
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Reacting to the changes, an anonymous staff member said: “From the end of September there will be some 250 staff trying to find alternative parking in the vicinity of Lister Hospital and this will affect residential roads in the surrounding area. Many already have double yellow lines but, understandably, residents will complain if they find their roads filled with the cars of hospital staff.
“Staff feel that responsibility to provide reasonable, secure alternative parking should be with the East and North Herts NHS Trust. They want to get to their place of work on time without the worry of having to find somewhere off-site to park their cars. This could have a serious knock-on effect as due to the stress and worry of this, some may feel they need to look for alternative employment.”
The NHS Trust’s chief executive Nick Carver said: “Some months ago, a travel group was set up that included staff side representation. It looked at new eligibility criteria for parking permits at Lister, which are now being applied. The basics behind the new criteria are that frontline clinical staff – doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals – will be prioritised. We can’t have these staff looking for somewhere to park while their patients are left waiting for them to arrive.
“We’ve made it clear to staff that parking on nearby residential streets is being restricted increasingly and where people choose to park in this way, they must do so legally or expect action to be taken by Stevenage Borough Council’s parking enforcement team and/or the police.
“We recognise that for many used to parking at Lister, these changes will be uncomfortable – but they are necessary if our patients are to get the care they need.”