Health chiefs reveal hospital parking changes

HEALTH workers who live less than a mile from their work place are to lose out on the right to park at their hospital under new rules brought in to ease pressure on spaces.

For years parking at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds has been a key issue for patients, visitors and staff.

The trust has banned staff from using car park A, which is only for patients, and introduced tighter controls for the 1,048 spaces meant for workers and volunteers towards the rear of the complex.

The new measures include barring those living less than a mile from the hospital from holding a parking pass, introducing both a cycle-to-work and car sharing scheme and extending arrangements with Bury St Edmunds Rugby Club over the use of its car park during weekdays.

Jan Bloomfield, director of workforce and communications at the hospital and who parks at Bury’s rugby club, said the ideal situation would have been to issue about 1,750 permits for the 2,700 or so people who wanted one.

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However, that was not impossible, she said, because the alternatives - such as a good reliable bus service or an established car sharing scheme - were not yet in place.

Instead, all staff other than those who live within a mile of the hospital will be given parking permits.

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The new rules mean 56 people would lose out on parking - though she added those affected were able to appeal.

Explaining the move, Mrs Bloomfield said: “Demand is outstripping supply. We have consulted very widely about the scheme and overall it has been a very positive experience.”

She said the hospital was also looking to encourage cycling and bus use, car sharing and parking at the Bury rugby club car park as a way of easing pressure on spaces.

“We’ve launched our own car share scheme, our cycle to work scheme and we’ve upgraded our trust shower facilities for those cycling in. We’ve invested in a travel plan co-ordinator who will run the car share scheme and we’ve extended the use of the rugby club until June 30.

“We’ve also started some useful discussions with Suffolk County Council and the bus company about transport onto the site.”

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