Northern General Hospital parking: Calls to build multi-storey to end 'nightmare' at Sheffield hospital
It is Sheffield’s biggest hospital site. Thousands work there or visit each day.
But staff, patients, and residents living near to the Northern General Hospital have told of the parking ‘nightmare’ at the site, which some feel will worsen as more services move to the giant site near Fir Vale.
The complex is home to services including the city’s only A&E department. Its 100 acres site has over 1,100 beds and employs more than 6,000 staff, providing specialist services including orthopaedics, renal, heart and lung services and a state of the art, purpose built spinal injuries unit.
But getting all those people to the site is not easy – and those affected by the parking issues at the site have suggested it is time for a multistorey car park or park and ride to relieve the problem.
One Northern General staff member told the Star said parking was a problem for those working there.
She said: “It’s OK for those who start at 7am or 8am or if you have a high-up job, as they get parking. Otherwise its a nightmare for staff. I can be 30 minutes late due to parking. I used to park on the roads sometimes, but someone tried to vandalise my car by putting a boulder inside of the wheel.”
She said she knew of plans to move more services to the site and feared that would just make things worse unless action was taken.
Another NHS worker, visiting the site, said he usually found it very difficult to park. “I think they need to do something to improve it,” he said. “Perhaps a park and ride system would be a good idea.”
Patients and visitors have told of their concerns.
Visiting a patient, Keith Buckler, originally from Manor, now living in Barnsley, managed to park this week, but not close to the ward he was going to. He said he did not mind the walk. He added: “People don’t tend to like walking. But I think parking is worse at Barnsley.”
He said he had seen motorists driving round and waiting for cars to go.
Denise Crookes said she visits the hospital frequently because she brings her aunt for appointments from Chesterfield. “I find it a nightmare,” she said. “I often have to go outside the grounds and park on a side street. I was lucky today because someone saw me and waved to show they were leaving. I think they need to do something. The site is big enough.”
Stephen Salkeld, originally from Firth Park, living in Birdwell, Barnsley, had brought his wife for an appointment. He said he recently found himself parking away from the hospital, at Hucklow Road.
"A multistorey car park would be better,” he said.
He said previously he had ended up parking where there was no space and staying in the car until he got moved on by site staff.
"They build hospitals, but don’t build enough parking,” he said. “I think they need to find room for a high rise. It’s definitely a nightmare.”
Stuart Read, from Intake, had brought his wife to the Northern General for an appointment.
"We have to come quite often,” he said. “If the appointment is in the morning, at 10am or 10.30am, I get here for 7am, because after 7.30am it just fills up. I think there should be a multistorey.”
He said he had also often found himself dropping his wife off and having to return later. He said he thought there should be somewhere people could park briefly if they were at the site for a procedure.
David Rose, of Wincobank, a dad and full time carer for his three disabled children, said he had to visit both the Northern General and the Children’s Hospital for appointments. He felt a multistorey car park was needed at the Northern General.
He said: “When we went to the Children’s Hospital, it used to be worse. Then they built a multistorey there. Since they did that it has been so much better. Trying to find a space before that was horrendous.
"The last five times out of six I’ve been to the Northern General I’ve had to park down the road in Fir Vale in a council car park near the traffic lights.”
It is not just those using the hospital who are unhappy – nearby residents are fed up with having to live with the overspill.
On nearby Horndean Road, residents say they cannot take their cars out without returning to find themselves unable to park again.
Resident Rudy Kainey said he had to spend £6,000 creating his own car park round the back of his house because of the problem.
He said: “When you take the kids to school, there are no spaces when you come back. It does upset people. They should put a multistorey up at the hospital."
Ahaz Mohammed said he had no issue with people who parked there for appointments as they did not stay long. But he said the problem was staff who stayed there all day.
"We get some cars arriving at 6am or 7am and they don't move until 9pm,” he said. “There was one who used to come and cover up my driveway. I shouted at him one day and he ran away. We think they should build a multistorey.
Another resident, Maria Ward, said she feared it would get worse if more services were moved to the site. “You feel like you can’t move your car,” she said.”
Andrew Jones, Facilities Director at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We always aim to support our staff, patients and visitors by utilising our car parking capacity as effectively and fairly as we can. This includes controlling access at key times of day to ensure patients can arrive for AM and PM appointments, and reviewing usage on a regular basis to enable us to manage parking accordingly. Car parking staff also check that users are indeed staff, visitors or patients wherever possible.“We look at every opportunity to increase car parking and have created more spaces in recent years.“Our hospitals and are served by multiple bus routes, and we work closely with the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive which has produced a comprehensive guide to these services. We also provide the H1 shuttle bus service which runs between the Northern General and Royal Hallamshire hospitals at regular intervals, and encourage the use of park and ride services.“In addition to this we encourage active travel to our sites, and have recently installed a new secure cycle shelter at the Northern General with space for a further bikes. We also employ a dedicated Travel Plan Coordinator who can work with visitors to help them plan their journey and assess the transport options available.”