Weekend Diagnosis: Long-awaited parking improvements at Torbay Hospital complete
10 November 2016
This Weekend Diagnosis is from Lesley Darke, our Director of Estates and Commercial Development
Parking is often the first experience people have of the hospital and the parking difficulties experienced by patients, visitors and staff at Torbay have been well documented over the years. From listening to feedback, we knew that we needed to develop a sustainable parking solution.
Finding a suitable solution for the hospital site was challenging, but it has been really positive to have so many of our staff, patients, volunteers, carers and union representatives involved right the way through the process. We have worked hard to deliver the level of improvements needed within stringent planning and environmental guidelines, the limited space on site and the constraints of funds that are available to us.
We’ve now reached an exciting milestone where the works to improve parking on the hospital site are now complete.
In August 2015, we were granted planning permission for our project and since this point we have been working to make the parking experience quicker, easier and safer for our patients, visitors and staff. The improvements, which have cost in the region of £2million, include:
- The creation of approximately 200 additional patient and visitor spaces which includes in the region of 100 disabled spaces for Blue Badge holders. This almost doubles our previous provision of disabled spaces on site and this number now exceeds the nationally set standards for the provision of disabled spaces.
- more drop-off bays at entrances and free parking for 20 minutes in the pay on exit car parks
- better motorcycling and cycling facilities
- improved access, new footpaths and crossings
- two electric car charging points
- pay on exit systems installed so people only pay for the time they use making visits less stressful
- reconfiguration of our car parks to allocate the parking spaces that are closest to the entrances for our patients and visitors.
The hospital will also continue to offer its free parking for unpaid carers who are signed up to the trust’s Carers Register.
Delivering these parking improvements, and maintaining the service, cannot be funded through money received for patient care. This has meant that, earlier this year, we needed to slightly increase our parking fees. We will also be aligning the parking charges at our community sites to those at Torbay to ensure consistency. Even with the fee changes, our parking charges are still amongst the lowest in the region.
We hope that you will now start to see the benefits of these improvement works. More detailed information, including new maps of the hospital’s car parks which have also been colour coded to align with the hospital’s zones, can be found on the trust’s website www.torbayandsouthdevon.nhs.uk
Weekend Diagnosis a fortnightly column published in the Herald Express discussing local health and care issues.