Trust to reintroduce parking charges at Grantham Hospital this week
Parking charges at Grantham Hospital will be reintroduced on Wednesday (January 9) following the breakdown of a new system introduced by the hospital trust last year.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust is phasing in the reintroduction of public car parking charges at its hospitals over the coming weeks.
The trust teamed up with car parking management specialists ParkingEye to introduce a new automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system at all of its car parks from November 2018.
The trust says the new system experienced technical problems despite providing better security, additional payment options and improved traffic flow around the hospital sites with the removal of the old barrier system which caused frequent queuing. In response to feedback, the decision was made by the trust to turn off the new system and offer free parking for members of the public until all of the issues could be resolved.
Parking charges for members of the public will start again at Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, tomorrow (Tuesday, January 8) and at Grantham and District Hospital on Wednesday, January 9. Due to a delay in the installation of additional telephone lines to improve the signal between the new ANPR cameras and the pay machines, parking will continue to be free for the public at Lincoln County Hospital until later in the month.
Paul Boocock, Director of Estates and Facilities at ULHT, said: “Over the last few weeks we have been working with our car parking provider to improve the signal between the ANPR cameras and the pay machines.
“We have experienced a technical delay at Lincoln County Hospital and we will let people know when we are ready for the parking charges to be reintroduced.
“Most of the additional payment machines have been installed, along with all of the extra lighting and we are still putting up shelters around some of the machines. We will also have additional staff on hand to help when the charges are reintroduced at each site.
“I’d like to thank everyone for their patience and support over the past month and also apologise for any inconvenience it has caused.”
Once the charges are reintroduced, visitors parking at Lincoln, Grantham and Boston hospitals will need to pay at the end of their stay by entering their car registration number at one of the pay machines or by using the good2go website https://www.parkgood2go.com/
Hospital campaigner Charmaine Morgan, chair of SOS Grantham Hospital, said money made from car parking should be used to fund improvements in patient care;
Coun Morgan said: "In total ULHT have made £2.6m from parking charges and fines in the last year. Whilst it may be necessary to prevent the inappropriate use of parking spaces by commuters the sum raised is excessive.
"Hospital Trusts across the country are turning to parking charges to help make up for funding shortfalls. It is little comfort to learn ULHT is using revenue raised to manage their car parks and increase security. They should be focusing funding on delivering improved patient care. In the meanwhile the charges are not 'fair' as the trust says because patients, visitors and staff have little option other than to park in the trust's rural hospitals.
"Secondly, flat parking fees and fines have to be paid regardless of the income of those required to pay. And, as visitors are known to help boost the morale and recovery rate of patients they should be encouraged not deterred. The centralisation of acute services by ULHT makes it all the more likely local people have to travel further to visit a hospital. Now, adding insult to injury, we face increasing parking charges, too.
"A properly funded local NHS hospital service paid for by a fair taxation system, where those who can afford to contribute more do, is the solution."