South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s Board has given final approval to a plan that will see significant developments and enhancements to parking at the hospital, including the creation of 400 extra spaces.
The parking difficulties experienced by patients, visitors and staff have been well documented over the years and are recognised as a significant issue by Torbay Council. It is also the number one issue for the Trust’s governors and consequently a key priority for the Trust’s Board. In response to this feedback, the Trust has worked closely with staff, unions, patients, carers, governors and Torbay Council during 2013/14 to develop a sustainable parking solution that will deliver the level of improvements needed.
The plan – subject to receiving planning consent from Torbay Council (due October 2014) – will deliver significant enhancements including:
· creation of around 400 new parking spaces
· a 100 per cent increase in disabled parking bays for Blue Badge holders from 54 to 108
· dedicated drop-off areas adjacent to all entrances and free parking for 20 minutes
· better motorcycle and bicycle facilities
· safe, well lit car parks with improved access, new footpaths and crossings
· pay on exit systems in large public car parks, so people only pay for the time they use.
All these improvements will make the parking experience quicker, easier and safer.
The hospital will continue to offer its concessionary parking, which has received praise from cancer support charity Macmillan.
Commenting on the plan, Lesley Darke, Director of Estates and Commercial Development at Torbay Hospital, said: “Parking is often the first experience patients and visitors have of the Hospital. From listening to their feedback we know that over the past few years the difficulties in finding parking, and worrying about when their ticket expires, have caused major concern.
“Finding a suitable solution for the hospital site and keeping the costs of improvements to a minimum has been challenging, but it has been really positive to have so many of our staff, patients, volunteers, carers and union representatives involved right the way throughout the process. We’ve reached an exciting point in the development where, subject to planning approval, we will soon be starting work on site and seeing the improvements take place. The plan will significantly improve the experience of everybody visiting the hospital site in the future.”
Cathy French, Lead Governor of Torbay Hospital, said: “The governors are all delighted to know that this long standing problem will soon be solved. We hope that the whole patient experience, when visiting the hospital, will be improved as a result.”
Delivering the car parking improvements, and maintaining the service, cannot be funded through money received for patient care. In order to fund the improvements there will be a slight increase in parking fees on the site but the Trust has worked hard to keep this to an absolute minimum. The future charges will still see Torbay Hospital’s parking charges amongst the lowest in the region. The new charges will only come into effect once all the work has been undertaken and the improvements complete by the end of spring next year.
The Trust is acutely aware that it is ‘business as usual’ throughout the period when the work will be undertaken. The work will therefore be phased to ensure that disruption is kept to a minimum and parking spaces to a maximum availability during the period.
In the interim, an additional, temporary pay and display car park at Lowes Bridge entrance has been created for patients and visitors. This 65 space car park will help to ease some of the public parking issues until the full development is complete.
More detailed information about the plans can be found on the Trust’s website www.sdhct.nhs.uk
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