THE husband of a woman being treated at a spinal injuries ward in Sheffield has hit out at plans to build a car park over a green space next to the unit which he says will deny patients a place to enjoy fresh air and sunshine.
Bob Holmes’ wife Anne has multiple sclerosis and is an in-patient on Osborn 4 at the Northern General Hospital.
Bob likes to take Anne outside to the grassed area which fits around the L-shaped block, to give her a break from the wards.
But Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has submitted plans to the council asking for planning permission to build a car park for around 60 places on the grassed area. They stress that benches and green space would remain in the area for use by patients, even if the proposals go ahead.
Mr Holmes, from Carter Knowle, said he and other patients and staff – including nurses who have started a petition – were upset about the plans.
He said: “The area is flat and grassed and easily accessible by people using wheelchairs, allowing patients from the unit to get some fresh air.
“It gives them the chance to escape from the fuggy confines of the ward – it’s really the only green area that they have access to and it would be a great shame to lose it.”
The 68-year-old said he appreciated there was an issue with parking at the Northern General Hospital site – but urged the trust and council to do more to encourage visitors to use public transport instead.
“There’s also the issue of increased noise and fumes from more cars – and even if they do keep the benches and a green area near the unit, it’s not going to be very pleasant situated next to a car park.
“I’ve worked out it only takes me 15 minutes more to get the bus across town to the hospital compared to using the car – surely more could be done to encourage others to do the same?”
Kevin O’Regan, hotel services director at the trust, said: “In response to patient and visitor concerns about the difficulty in parking, we have applied for planning permission to create additional car parking spaces at the Northern General Hospital.
“However we are sensitive of the need to balance the demand for car parking alongside the need to ensure there is also green space on the site that patients, staff and visitors can enjoy.”