Edinburgh’s Sick Kids Hospital: Anger as NHS staff struggle to park at Little France site

Health chiefs have promised to create 250 extra parking spaces at Edinburgh’s Sick Kids Hospital but critics say this should already be implemented.

By Shona Elliott
Thursday, 8th April 2021, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 8th April 2021, 7:25 am
Parking woes: The new Royal Hospital for Children & Young People at Little France
Parking woes: The new Royal Hospital for Children & Young People at Little France

Dedicated NHS staff working tirelessly through the pandemic have been forced to spend more than 45 minutes looking for a parking space at the Little France site.

Doctors and nurses have had to “give up” and park off-site, up to two miles away from the hospital, making them late for work and causing hold-ups in care for seriously sick patients.

A key worker at the children’s hospital said: “I drove around for about 45 minutes looking for a space.

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'Simple logistics' - Miles Briggs

“I was told by a parking attendant that there were no more spaces and had to park on the street and was late for work.”

Other staff have pretended to be visiting someone in the hospital to get a parking space or have parked miles away from the hospital on on-street parking.

Deputy Chief Executive at NHS Lothian Jim Crombie confirmed that he is aware of this problem and plans to create 250 extra parking spaces by summer.

Mr Crombie said: “We recognised that more parking would be required on the Little France campus and we have been working closely with our partners on the site to put in place a number of support measures and also create extra parking for our staff and patients. We anticipate that an extra 250 spaces will be available in the summer.

Deputy Chief Executive at NHS Lothian Jim Crombie plans to create 250 extra parking spaces by summer.

“In the meantime, we have also made more parking spaces available for our front line teams, introduced additional traffic management staff to direct cars to available spaces and increased secure bicycle cages to support staff who wish to use bikes rather than cars.

“Further discussions and planning are evolving to provide more parking spaces and when the current Covid-19 restrictions are reduced, we will be able to review a number of travel and parking options available.”

But MSP Miles Briggs, the Conservative candidate for Edinburgh Southern, said health officials and SNP minister Jeane Freeman have had long enough time to plan for appropriate parking.

He said: “The Cabinet Secretary for Health has had more than enough time to plan for additional parking spaces and it is disappointing for hospital staff that this hasn’t been sorted.

“It is simple logistics to know that a new hospital opening on-site will require additional parking spaces.

“NHS Lothian staff have enough challenges to face on a daily basis, but now have the extra challenge of trying to get parked.

“If doctors and nurses aren’t able to get into work on time, this will have knock on effects through the day and is a serious concern which needs to be resolved quickly.”

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