A review of a local hospital’s car park system has been welcomed by Healthwatch Sefton.
Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is currently considering changes to the ways in which patients and visitors can pay for parking on site and is canvassing views through a survey. A Trust spokesperson explained: “To help us take account of as many views as possible, we hope people will complete this short survey, which will take less than two minutes.”
Healthwatch Sefton, the health and social care consumer champion, has previously alerted the Lower Lane hospital over its car parking arrangements after concerns were raised by patients and visitors.
People’s car parking experiences were collected by Healthwatch over a period of time and then reported back to the Trust.
A number of recommendations were contained in Healthwatch Sefton’s patient experience report with the priority being introducing a process for people to claim back car park fees when clinics were delayed.
Healthwatch Sefton commented: “The NHS patient, visitor and staff car parking principles state that ‘additional charges should only be imposed where reasonable and should be waived when overstaying is beyond the driver’s control – i.e. when treatment takes longer than planned.”
Following a meeting held with the Trust’s Chief Nurse, Dianne Brown, to discuss the matter of reimbursement further, the Trust pointed out that, “the practicalities of delivering this recommendation are very complex and, as previously reported, unmanageable with current technology.
“A process has started to purchase new car parking equipment which will be used to improve our ability to respond to several improvements, including the ability to support the offsetting of car parking charges when clinics are subject to lengthy delays.”
In response to the patient experience report, the Trust also disclosed it received £2.5m annually from car park charges saying: “This income is used by the Trust to provide for the construction, maintenance, security and car parking related services across the Trust as a whole, as well as funding and supporting running costs of the car parks on site. The Trust operates over 3000 car parking spaces on site.”
A Trust spokesperson explained further: “We only have a high income because of the large number of spaces we have as the site serves three main Trusts plus more than a dozen other organisations. Our actual car parking rates are benchmarked and compare favourably to many other regional hospitals.”
The car park survey, also supported by Healthwatch Knowsley and Healthwatch Liverpool, can be found at: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RKCG8Q6
The deadline for recording views is Monday, 13 November and the results of the survey will be shared at a later date.
Healthwatch Sefton is always keen to hear feedback on accessing health and social care services such as GP, dentists, care homes and mental health services. Call the team on 0800 206 1304, email: firstname.lastname@example.org or put your review on its Feedback Centre www.healthwatchsefton.co.uk
The full report, including the response from Aintree University Hospital Trust, is available at: www.healthwatchsefton.co.uk For a hard copy, please ring Healthwatch Sefton on 0151 920 0726 ext 240 to arrange for one to be posted out.