Published: 00:00, 06 February 2018
GPs at Newton Place Surgery are appealing to members of the public to think before using their car park.
Congestion at the medical practice at Newton Road is so bad that staff, including doctors who carry out home visits, are regularly blocked in, and minor traffic collisions have taken place.
On one occasion, an ambulance for a patient who needed urgent hospital care could not get to the surgery’s front entrance because too many vehicles had been parallel parked in a section for flowing traffic.
The patient had to be carried through the car park on a stretcher.
Staff at Newton Place – which has more than 17,000 registered patients – believe its parking spots, which are reserved for staff and patients, are being used by rail commuters and members of the public visiting Faversham town centre.
The situation has built up slowly over the years but has now reached a peak.
Dr Simon Lundy, a partner at the practice, has asked people to stop parking at the surgery unless they have business there, and for patients who visit shops in town after appointments to park elsewhere after their surgery visit in order to free up space.
He said that free parking was valuable to patients with mobility issues and mothers with young children, but that the practice’s ability to offer it is being restricted by “people who are thoughtlessly and improperly using our car park”.
“Once, a member of staff who had finished work needed to get home to her child. We had to call police, who were getting prepared to tow the car away when the man came out of the pub,” he said.
“We have got to a point now where it is not just inconvenient and unpleasant, but hazardous.”
The practice is considering a number of measures, including ticketing, as well as encouraging staff not to drive into work where possible, in order to bring the situation under control.
At peak times it can take 10 minutes to leave the car park, with queues of cars waiting for entry forming on Newton Road.
One member of staff received verbal abuse after querying whether a driver who was using a disabled parking bay had permission to use the space.
Dr Lundy said: “Unfortunately in order to provide a good service to those who need it, we are going to have to be more strict about who we let use the car park.”
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