"Visitors experience"

About: North Tyneside General Hospital

Arriving ca 2pm for visiting to find the car park full. 10 minutes circulating to find a spot with other hapless visitors. On the way in one despairing elderly lady said she had been trying for an hour. She was getting no help or advice, surely the good old British queue is better than the current pot luck. More spaces clearly needed and the entrance and exit lanes are very narrow - how many damaged wheels leave the site I do wonder. The payment system is appallingly bad, no instructions to speak of, the system is not intuitive, the ticket machine hardware small and, low down. totally exposed to bad weather and I'll lit at night. I am still not sure if I complied with ticket time. We were about 6 minutes overstay and I could get no idea what to do about it. A fellow visitor advised theatre was 20 minutes leeway given and that I was OK to leave. And then £1.20 per hour for the privilege which in my opinion is far too much with a negligible reinvestment in a decent system it would seem. If income form parking is used for any purpose than maintaining the parking then that is shameful - the NHS is not a profit making business. I have reluctantly commented and am not usually moved to do so lightly - but this was a deeply irritating and frustrating experience around such a simple issue at a time of stress. It cannot be beyond a better solution. My only other hospital experience; Raigmore at Inverness, car park is huge, car park is free - please reflect.

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Response from North Tyneside General Hospital

Dear Sir/Madam I am really sorry that you have experienced difficulties trying to find a parking space at North Tyneside Hospital and using the new parking system. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience, it is so important that we listen to, and understand the experiences of all of our patients I understand that you were unable to locate any instructions for the new system. These are available on each machine and we also have patient information leaflets available in locations throughout the hospital, as well as information on our trust website. Please be reassured that you will not receive a parking notice if your overstay was less than 10 minutes. The 20 minutes that another visitor referred to, is the free pick up and drop off time that is provided. However, this does not apply to the first hour of parking. I understand that any charging for parking is contentious and that for you the charge we make is too much. For our part, all of the income raised from parking is used to support the maintence of the parking system itself and any suplus is invested into the care of our patients. We have also been careful to ensure our parking charges are the lowest in the region . We understand some of the difficulties that some of our patients are experiencing with the height and lighting of the machines. Our estates team are currently working to resolve these issues as soon as possible. I would like to help you if I can so please contact me at Joanne.Mackintosh@northumbria-healthcare.nhs.uk if it transpires that your overstay was longer than 10 minutes. Best Wishes Jo

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