500 staff waiting over five years for ERI parking permit

Edinburgh Royal Infirmary Car Park. Picture; Lisa Ferguson
Edinburgh Royal Infirmary Car Park. Picture; Lisa Ferguson
Have your say

PARKING space at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary is at such a premium that a total of 614 staff are on the waiting list for permits – and 500 have been on it for more than five years.

One staff nurse says she has to fork out £100 a month to park her car at the hospital because she cannot get a permit.

Picture; Lisa Ferguson

Picture; Lisa Ferguson

And now Health Secretary Shona Robison is being asked to help resolve the situation.

There are currently 594 parking spaces for patients and visitors at ERI and a staff car park with 1125 spaces. An extra 273 visitor spaces and 60 disabled and drop-off spaces will be added once the new Sick Kids Hospital opens at the site.

Lothian Conservative MSP Miles Briggs said he had been contacted by NHS staff who did not have permits as well as visitors who complained about the difficulty of finding a parking space.

He said: “The lack of car parking capacity at ERI for both staff and visitors is a major issue. The fact that hundreds of hard-working NHS Lothian staff have been waiting for more than five years to get a parking permit demonstrates the extent of the problem.

614 members of staff are waiting for a permit, 500 have been waiting for over 5 years. Picture; Lisa Ferguson

614 members of staff are waiting for a permit, 500 have been waiting for over 5 years. Picture; Lisa Ferguson

“Staff without parking permits are understandably frustrated and alarmed at the costs they face for parking.

“One recently-graduated young nurse working at ERI told me her parking bill is almost £100 per month, a significant chunk of her take-home pay. She lives in West Lothian and public transport options simply don’t exist that would get her to ERI in time for her shifts.

“NHS Lothian also concedes that visitor car parks are at capacity every day.”

Health officials told Mr Briggs the number of parking spaces at the hospital were restricted by the city council and Scottish Government guidelines.

Now he has written to Ms Robison, asking her to work with NHS Lothian to increase car parking capacity at ERI.

George Curley, NHS Lothian director of operations and facilities, said: “We have a duty to ensure that patients coming to the hospital, who often have mobility issues, are frail or elderly, can park as close to the site as possible.

“We also have a duty to encourage staff to make healthier and more environmentally friendly travel choices. Public transport in Edinburgh is excellent and there are a number of buses which come right in to the hospital’s grounds. We are also lucky to have a Park and Ride service just two miles away which provides regular links.”

NHS Lothian said staff parking permits were issued under a points system which took account of factors such as distance, local transport, unsociable hours and childcare.

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “This is a matter for Edinburgh City Council and NHS Lothian, as this car park is privately owned under a PPP arrangement and administered by the council.”

She pointed out the government had scrapped parking charges in all car parks owned by the NHS in Scotland.

A city council spokeswoman said: “Parking spaces are set as part of the planning process. If an organisation is interested in expanding existing facilities, this request will be assessed through the planning process.”