Hospital staff at Little France site lose annual parking permits
Hundreds of staff at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh have had their annual parking permits revoked - due to a lack of parking space.
The much delayed new Royal Hospital for Children and Young People will open at Little France in July, bringing the number of staff to around 30,000.
But plans for the £150 million facility have not included further provision for staff parking leading to fears of parking chaos in the summer.
NHS Lothian say local authority planning regulations have restricted the number of parking spaces allowed at the site, with 1,125 staff and 948 public spaces available from July.
The number of employees who can claim a £240 parking permit, from A&E staff to surgeons, has been slashed - with hundreds now handed a three month notice period.
Chairman of BMA’s local negotiating committee for Lothian, Karen Darragh, is a consultant in acute speciality and has had her permit revoked after more than a decade.
She told the Evening News: “I have no idea why no additional parking has been provided for the site. We’ve known about these hospitals moving to this site for a long time.
“Morale is terrible and this is only going to have a detrimental impact on recruiting and retention of members of staff.
“For those staff with fixed times and on bus routes will be able to use public transport but in my line of work it’s just not possible.
“I can be called out to hospitals at all hours so hopefully we can appeal or negotiate with the trust. We don’t want this having any impact on the service we provide to our patients.”
Staff are being encouraged to use public transport to the hospital. Those who drive will have to pay £7 a day at the hospital car park or park off site and walk in. Staff safety fears were sparked recently after a sexual assault on two women in the Little France area in February.
Ms Darragh, 48, from East Lothian said: “When we have the influx of staff, patients and visitors it is going to be chaos. This has affected a wide range of staff from accident and emergency to surgeons and I just don’t understand why more car parking spaces have not been created to meet the demand.”
Unison Lothian health chairman Tam Waterson echoed Ms Darragh’s comments saying: “The lack of parking spaces has been a fundamental flaw in the plans since day one and we have huge sympathy for staff. There will be 30,000 people a day working at the sites each day and there’s just no space for them all.”
George Curley, director of facilities at NHS Lothian said: “The increasing volume of cars we see on our hospital sites has caused concerns related to traffic and patient safety, patient appointment delays and service delivery. To address these concerns, we recently reviewed our car parking processes across Lothian. All existing car parking permits and all new applications have been reviewed under the direction of this group to ensure fairness. An Appeals Group has been established. Our on-call staff can park on-site without a permit, provided they arrive and leave outwith normal working hours.”