"Parking chaos at The Royal Glamorgan"

About: The Royal Glamorgan Hospital / Paediatrics

(as a parent/guardian),

My wife and I took our twin 30 months old boys for a hearing test today at the Royal Glamorgan. First I must say that the health professionals who dealt with us were without exception excellent. We arrived we thought in good time for our appointment to find that there were no parking spaces available. There were huge numbers of cars parking anywhere they could put their cars despite numerous signs warning of £100 fines for not parking in designated bays. I parked in a gap and crossed my fingers.

On my return two security/car park attendants were explaining to a very upset visitor that it was between him and the trust, not them. I escaped without a ticket as they were just about to do my row but something needs to be done. I think it very likely that now that parking has become free, people are using it as a car share car park.

I have regrettably spent a great deal of time in the Royal over the years and have never seen what I saw today. Surely if the trust is employing security, could they not charge for anyone using the car park with tokens available for patient with appointment paperwork? Visitors who have to attend regularly perhaps could buy a weekly/monthly ticket which in fact they used to do.

I appreciate that free parking is the ideal for a hospital, but not for tightfisted low lives to block the spaces needed for the staff, visitors and most of all patients.

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Response from Madeleine Brindley, Head of Communications, Cwm Taf NHS Trust We are preparing to make a change

Can I firstly apologise for the time its taken to respond to your comment - I wanted our head of hotel services to have a chance to pick up your points about car parking directly, however he was on leave at the time you posted this comment. Can I also thank you for your comments about the staff at the Royal Glamorgan and the care you receive.

In response to your comments about car parking, Russell Hoare, Cwm Taf Health Board's head of hotel services, offers the following comments: "May I thank you for bringing your concerns to my attention and I apologise for any anxiety you or your family may have experienced while attending the hospital.

"The Welsh Assembly Government decided that car parking pay and display or barrier charges at all Welsh hospitals would cease from April 1, 2008 and parking would be free. This presented the health boards in Wales with a significant challenge in how they would manage parking at their hospital sites and with no revenue from parking fees.

"In addition, where contracts for the provision of car parking services were in place with external companies these were to be allowed to run their course. Car parking at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital had been contracted out to a private company for some years and the contract ended on April 30, 2012.

"We are very much aware that at peak times there is a current excessive demand on car parking spaces and the number of vehicles visiting the site has increased beyond any reasonable prediction. A road traffic sign survey for the site is now being commissioned; the aim being to provide suitable traffic flow signage and to improve the directional signage for patient, visitor and staff parking.

"Since May 2012, Cwm Taf Health Board has introduced a parking enforcement scheme to protect the hospital sites from irresponsible and obstructive parking. The administration of the scheme is delivered under agreement with a British Parking Association-approved provider and the health board, not the provider, has operational control of the scheme.

"Although parking may be free, in accordance with the Health Board Transport and Travel policy the objectives of the parking enforcement scheme at Cwm Taf Health Board sites is simply to protect the disabled parking spaces, maintain a safe traffic flow around the site and ensure the health board meets its duty of care in maintaining clear and safe access routes for emergency vehicles.

"This is not to unduly penalise patients or visitors to the hospital. Disabled drivers are for example allowed to park along double yellow lines provided that their vehicle is not causing an obstruction to traffic flow e.g. on road junctions.

"To ensure enforcement is implemented in a fair, consistent and equitable manner at all times the health board retains the right to intervene in the enforcement process at any time. Any person in receipt of a parking charge notice who feels it has been unjustly issued is free to challenge the ticket by appeal.

"Appeals are reviewed by health board staff who are fully aware of and sympathetic to the needs of our patients and visitors.

"We have recently carried out an operation to identify any users who may be taking advantage by using the site as a car share car park. There was no evidence to suggest that this is the case and where it is identified in the future the user would be issued with a parking charge notice in accordance with the site parking rules. We will continue to monitor this area of concern.

"Please be assured that we are doing everything possible to accommodate patients and visitors parking requirements, however this has to be balanced against the safety of road users who access the hospital site. Realistically, any long-term solution may require additional parking spaces being provided and this would require significant capital investment which seems unlikely to be available for this purpose in the foreseeable future.

"We are required by the Welsh Government to develop a sustainable travel plan and part of this plan is to encourage alternative ways of travelling to hospital by staff and the public that reduces single occupier vehicle travel and carbon emissions and is more environment friendly, for example a shuttle bus between sites and a staff car sharing scheme to reduce the load on parking spaces. We are also working closely with volunteer patient transport organisations that provide transport for patients to hospital.

"Our advice to patients and visitors visiting the hospital by car is to be aware that at peak times there may be insufficient parking spaces available and that a parking space is not always guaranteed. This being the case and during peak times, seeking alternative private or public transport arrangements or allowing extra time to accommodate parking needs when arriving at the hospital may be of help.

"I am extremely sorry for the difficulties you have experienced during your visit to the Royal Glamorgan Hospital and I hope that should you need to visit the hospital again you will have a far more positive experience.

"It is very important that patients and relatives provide us with feedback so that we continually strive to improve our services and I hope that my response has gone some way to alleviate the concerns you have raised."

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