Cancer patients suffer parking misery

CANCER patients being treated at an Essex Hospital have been struggling to get to their appointments on time because of a severe shortage of parking spaces.

CANCER patients being treated at an Essex Hospital have been struggling to get to their appointments on time because of a severe shortage of parking spaces.

People booked in for radiotherapy sessions at the Essex County Hospital have been forced to queue for up to an hour before being able to park.

The problem has caused additional stress to patients who are already facing a challenging period because of their illness.

Many of the streets around the hospital are restricted to residential parking and it is not uncommon for queues for the car park to trail back hundreds of yards along Lexden Road towards the town.


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Staff have received phone calls from people stuck in the queues who are upset they will be late for their appointment.

Yesterday Ray Cole, who chairs the Essex Rivers patient and public involvement forum, said he could not see a solution.

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He said: "The problem also exists at the Colchester General Hospital, there is just not enough car

parking spaces to fulfil the demands.

"The borough council and the trust are really saying to people you will have to put the car in the garage and come in by taxi or bus.

"It is very traumatic for the patients and I have every sympathy but the trouble is with Essex County Hospital is it is in the middle of town and there is no car parking on the surrounding roads.

"The nearest public car park is at St Mary's but these people are suffering enough from what is happening and to have all this thrown on top of them."

He added although Colchester General Hospital is to have its car parking capacity doubled he doubted whether it would be able to cope when the Essex County closed and services were moved to one site.

A spokesman for Essex Rivers Health Care Trust, which runs both hospitals, said: "We are very much aware of the difficulties patients face with parking at Essex County Hospital and ask those patients coming in to be aware that parking can be extremely difficult at certain times of the day in the hospital car park.

"Although we informed patients of those difficulties in their out-patients letter we are confined to the limitations of the hospital's town centre location.

"Essex County Hospital is served by a good public transport system and has a public car park located nearby. However, we do recognise this is not always appropriate for patients visiting the hospital.

"We would like to reassure members of the public that we are taking all necessary steps to make sure that the new hospital development at Colchester General Hospital has appropriate parking facilities and is well served by public transport."

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