Nurses’ fury at hospital parking

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STAFF at Sheffield Children’s Hospital have been left furious after managers started charging them “without any consultation” to park on-site when working night shifts.

Doctors, nurses and other workers, some of whom live up to an hour’s drive away and for whom public transport is not an option, had been able to leave their cars free in spaces outside the building, off Western Bank, between 5pm and 8am.

Staff are not allowed to use the car park during the day.

Now Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, has brought in charges which always applied during the day, to free-up spaces for patients’ families.

But one member of staff said: “Up to 100 people who work night shifts will be affected. Although we have been told we will still be able to use the car park, if our cars are there after 8am we will be fined £80, reduced to £40 if we pay within 14 days.

“Because you don’t know if your shift will overrun, that means people will have to park on streets and have the same problem as day staff - there aren’t many spaces.”

She added: “For people working night shifts, some of whom live up to an hour’s drive away, it’s not possible to use public transport to get to work. We are also very unhappy because the change was brought in with no consultation with staff.”

John Reid, director of nursing at the Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The hospital, as a city centre site, has very limited parking. This was identified by families as their greatest source of concern in a survey of 446 users of the outpatients department.

“To alleviate the problem we are in negotiations with a number of organisations to expand our car parking. In the interim we have re-designated some of our spaces to ensure patients with mobility problems are prioritised.

“Staff will still be able to use these spaces outside the main entrance outside normal clinic times. They will operate on a pay-and-display basis.”

The outpatients department survey found car parking was one of the main priorities for visitors using Sheffield Children’s Hospital.

The study last year, showed parking close to the hospital was an important part of the patient experience.

Bosses are now urging the public to walk or take public transport if possible when visiting, to free parking spaces for families. The car park to the side of the main reception is now reserved for disabled blue badge holders and parents with children.

Mr Reid said: “We know parking is very important for families visiting us and the survey has been a great way to engage with our patients.

“Our patient car park is reserved for disabled badge holders and parents with children, and we just want to take this opportunity to re-iterate the message. We realise the trust needs more public parking and are in negotiation to expand parking. In the meantime, we would urge anyone coming to us to walk or get public transport if at all possible so our focus can be on families with children who need a car parking space most.”