Ipswich: Elderly couple missed hospital appointment after 90-minute hunt for parking space
Elderly couple claim they spent 90 minutes looking for a place
An elderly couple have today told of their frustration at missing appointments at Ipswich Hospital after spending 90 minutes hunting for a car parking space.
Margaret and Sid West, who live eight miles from the hospital in Trimley St Mary, told The Star they have been forced to rearrange two appointments as a result of the problem in the last few months.
And fears have been raised that the situation will only worsen as health bosses finalise plans for the out-of-hours GP service to move from The Riverside Clinic to the hospital. The minor injuries unit moved to Heath Road in the summer.
But a hospital spokeswoman said parking surveys have revealed there are always spaces. However, she admitted patients may face longer waits at busy periods, particularly at visiting time between 3pm and 8pm.
Mr and Mrs West, who are in their 80s, said they were due at the Heath Road hospital at 10.45am on October 15 to see a specialist.
But despite arriving at 9.15am they missed their slot because they were unable to park.
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Mrs West said they tried all of the car parks at the hospital as well as the surrounding roads to the north of the site but everywhere was “absolutely blocked solid”.
“We got there in plenty of time because we have missed appointments before,” she said. “We couldn’t find anywhere to park. Every road around the hospital was absolutely blocked solid.
“We waited so long that in the end we missed the appointment.”
She said when they returned to the hospital this week for the rescheduled appointment they asked a friend to drop them off and got the bus home rather than risk having to park.
But Mrs West, who does not drive, said it is difficult because their bus passes aren’t valid until after 9am and she is unable to drop her husband off, meaning they have to rely on friends or family.
An Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman said: “We have carried out a parking survey checking all the car parks on site every hour. That survey showed that there were always spaces.
“We do sympathise and have tried to change car parking. We are always looking at ways we can increase it but we have to work with what we have got.
“If patients experience problems please do ask for help at any of the receptions.”
She said new measures, including a drop-off zone have recently been introduced to tackle problems patients had raised with the trust.
Have you missed an appointment because you were unable to park? Tell us your experiences. Write to health reporter Lizzie Parry at Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org