Mounting frustrations over parking at Edinburgh's Royal Infirmary as cars face 3 mile tailbacks
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Women doctors are reportedly arriving up to five hours early to get a space and avoid walks off campus in the dark.
Congested car parks at the Little France are causing delays of up to 45 minutes at busy times, with nose-to-tail traffic all the way from Sheriffhall roundabout to the campus.
Hospital workers and a union has reported mounting frustrations over delays caused by demand for spaces in the car parks at the site, which also now includes the new Sick Kids hospital.
Hospital staff also reported workers from Lothian buses on site taking photos this week and talking to parking attendants as the company monitors the impact of the delays on bus services.
It follows a memo from the firm in August that acknowledged there was not enough parking capacity at the site and services could be stopped.
At St John’s in Livingston safety concerns were raised over parking after restrictions were put in place which saw permits reduced.
It was claimed junior doctors were being offered rape alarms following an incident in an underpass.
Health chiefs said they have started construction of 250 permanent parking spaces and have agreed 200 temporary spaces leased from Edinburgh University bio quarter.
But Unison spokesperson said: “There are simply not enough spaces in the car parks. You often see queues from Sheriffhall right into the hospital about half an hour sometimes
more. The free for all has backfired because people come in and chance their luck. Then you see parking attendants redirecting them to the car parks at the back.”
"Everybody and their granny tries to get in. It's very hit or miss. It seemed to work out better when staff had permits.”
Miles Briggs MSP said: “Parking provision has to take into account safety of workers.
"Staff often feel they are being forced out when they end up being redistributed and made to feel like second class citizens. Most hospitals have a proper integrated transport plan,
there needs to be a wider review here. Sending people to the park and ride at the other side of Sheriffhall was never going to work. After long shifts staff are knackered and they
don’t want to cycle or face long walks. They want to be able to get in their car and go home. They shouldn’t need to fight on their hands to have a parking space.
“The health board needs to be acutely aware that we need to look after those who look after us. That means getting the basics like a
parking space right.”
Jacquie Campbell, Chief Officer for Acute Services, NHS Lothian, said: “Parking has long been an issue at the Little France campus as it is indeed at many hospital sites across
Scotland. This causes delays to patients, visitors and staff, but also causes serious issues for our blue light services which must be able to travel through the hospital site at all
times. To help address these issues we have a number of active-travel plans in place, including support for those that wish to cycle. In addition, we have started construction of 250
additional parking spaces.”
Lothian Buses declined to comment.