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Call for action over hospital car park
PATIENTS are being forced to wait behind a barrier to get to parking spaces at Oxford’s Churchill Hospital, says a volunteer driver.
Former Harwell worker Alan Joinson, 72, who lives in Abingdon, has been driving elderly and infirm patients to hospital appointments for the past seven years.
He said the car park barrier at the Churchill Hospital’s main entrance, next to the cancer centre, has been causing him a particular problem in recent months.
If the 84-space car park is full, the barrier will only allow a vehicle to enter once another leaves and won’t let in drivers who only want to drop people off.
Mr Joinson, a volunteer driver for the Abingdon and District Volunteer Centre in Ock Street, said: “Sometimes you have to wait about 15 minutes to get into the car park.
“This adds to patients’ anxiety levels because they start getting upset about missing their appointment.
“I reported this problem to the trust in November.”
Health bosses admitted traffic queues can build up during busy times of the week but said they had no plans to change the system.
Mark Trumper, director of development for Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “The barrier system at the Churchill Hospital was installed in 2009 to create a fair and equitable method of controlling car parking and charges across the John Radcliffe and Churchill hospital sites.
“The barrier system means car parking of up to 30 minutes is free and ensures that people only pay for the time they use, rather than having to estimate the length of time needed with a pay and display system.
“The parking system is operated automatically and will not allow entry into the car parks if there are no spaces available. In certain circumstances, such as to allow entry for emergency vehicles, this system can be overridden and operated manually.
“Our parking is reviewed regularly to ensure we offer the fairest and most appropriate solutions to any concerns raised.
“The number of car parking spaces the trust is allowed to have on its sites is constrained by the planning authorities.
“At busy times during the week queues for car parking on site can occur. This is why we encourage the use of sustainable travel wherever possible.”
There are five car parks on the Churchill Hospital site with 399 parking spaces.
Four of the car parks are barrier-operated while the fifth, for people with disabilities, is not behind barriers.