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Home   Medway   News   Article

Medway Maritime Hospital's fresh drive to find a cure for parking jams

28 February 2014
by Nicola Jordan

All new staff have to park off-site at allocated spaces two miles away at Chatham Historic Dockyard.

A shuttle bus service has been expanded to encourage more workers to park outside the hospital in Windmill Road, Gillingham.

More admin and clerical staff are to receive off-site parking permits.

Employees are also being persuaded by the £2 a month charge to park at the former dockyard.

Queues for the car park at Medway Maritime Hospital

Queues for the car park at Medway Maritime Hospital

The hospital has been dogged with traffic problems caused by congestion as traffic attempts to enter the car parks, which are controlled by a barrier.

But despite the new measures to try to ease the difficulties, a member of staff who did not wish to be named said parking arrangements remained “an ongoing nightmare”.

The nurse said: “To park at hospital you have to get there at least half an hour early and there are sometimes three people queueing up for one place. It’s also not that easy if you have to fit the school run in beforehand.

“Parking at the dockyard is cheap, but not ideal if you finish after the last bus. It’s then a case of getting security to get you transport to your car.”

A review of outpatient clinics is to be undertaken to ease the demand in peak periods.

New staff barriers are being installed to ensure that staff without correct permits can not park on site.

“The transport system is simply not good enough in Medway to make this work" - Unison's Simon Bolton

A briefing paper from Medway NHS Foundation Trust said it “intends to overhaul the current facilities available to ensure optimum capacity and flow across the site”.

The revised bus timetable now operates from 7am to 9.15pm.

But Simon Bolton, who represents 1,500 Unison members at the hospital, said: “The transport system is simply not good enough in Medway to make this work.

“I have advised members if they have issues out of hours to make them known to managers, No money has been invested in improving transport for a decade.

“For an area with a population the largest outside London and in the South East it is disastrous.”

Some patients say they have missed appointments because they have been stuck in traffic.

The Arriva bus company’s operation has also been disrupted. At its worst point traffic was at a standstill queueing up to the A2.

Richard Lewis, Arriva’s regional publicity manager, said: “We noted a significant improvement in the traffic flow around the hospital last autumn and our services were able to run virtually unhindered.

“It is disappointing, however, that the situation has deteriorated in recent weeks but we understand that the NHS Trust will be installing new car park barriers and variable message signage and we will wait to see if that solves the problem before contemplating any further action.”



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