Staff car parking charges at Northampton General Hospital are set to rise by 50 per cent from the start of next month, the NHS hospital trust has announced.
In a major review of parking arrangements at the hospital, a number of changes are being made to try to increase the amount of spaces available to patients and visitors.
The key changes that will be introduced from April 1 include an increase in staff car parking charges by 50 per cent to contribute towards the cost of additional spaces.
For staff who park in Midsummer Meadow car park this will mean a rise of £10 to £15 a month and for those who park in the barriered car parks this will be an increase of £20 to £30 a month.
Charles Abolins, NGH director of facilities and capital development, said there would also be a review of non-trust permit holders and “non-essentials” would be excluded from the permit system.
This means that bank, agency staff and students will no longer be issued with parking permits resulting in parking charges increasing from £10 a week to £10 a day.
Mr Abolins said staff living within a two mile radius of the hospital would also be excluded from the permit scheme and would be encouraged to use alternative forms of transport to get to work.
He said: “Car parking at NGH remains a problem despite some increases in spaces on site over the last two years and the leasing of a hundred additional spaces for staff at Midsummer Meadow, making 200 in total on that site.
“There are almost 5,000 staff employed at the hospital but spaces for less than 1,500 - and staff car parks are already at full capacity by 8am every day.
“While we wish to accommodate as many staff cars as possible on site, there is no contractual obligation to provide parking, and it is the responsibility of staff to make their own transport and parking arrangements if they choose to use their vehicles.”
Mr Abolins said leasing 200 additional parking spaces at Midsummer Meadow costs the trust £180,000 a year, for which it currently receives £48,000 income from staff carparking charges.
He said approximately £1m a year carparking income is generated from staff and visitor car parking fees. Some of this is used to offset the costs of CCTV, the travel office and subsidised car park provision, the remainder, almost £500k, is used for patient care.
Mr Abolins said: “NGH has a greater number of staff parking spaces per inpatient bed than many similar hospitals around the country, but they are still not enough to be able to accommodate requirements. One of our key priorities is to improve parking for our patients, and the board has therefore agreed that the eligibility for a staff parking permit needs to be restricted in order to improve the public parking situation.”
The hospital is also planning to lease a further 100 spaces on Midsummer Meadow car park, making a total of 200 spaces to be available to NGH staff permit holders.
It is also planning to undertake a more detailed review over the next six months of installing car park decking, creating an extra 200 spaces, on the NGH site.
Mr Abolins said: “Car parking provision on the NGH site is not a limitless resource, and we are faced with some difficult choices in order to find a solution to the current parking problems on site.
“The trust board recognises that these changes will not be popular with some staff; however the provision of tangible improvements where the majority of staff and patients will benefit is the primary aim. Staff representatives in our Partnership Forum have been supportive of the measures, although they recognise some staff will be affected.”