Call for action after hospital parking woes

Staff and patients have complained about contractors taking up space on site after the hospital opened to the public.
Staff and patients have complained about contractors taking up space on site after the hospital opened to the public.

Parking at the new Dumfries and Galloway Royal Infirmary (DGRI) will continue to be monitored in the wake of complaints about a lack of spaces, the local health authority has said.

NHS Dumfries & Galloway’s comments came after local MSP Colin Smyth urged “swift action” following complaints from staff and visitors that contractors still working on site forcing some staff to park on nearby roads, some of which are 60mph zones, as well as in local businesses car parks.

While acknowledging that teething problems are to be expected, Mr Smyth said the contractors’ presence on site after the hospital opened seemed to be a “major oversight”

He continued: “Staff having to park on a 60mph road just so they can get into work is unacceptable and dangerous. We need to see short-term action, such as contractors bussing in staff until the work is completed. But there is also a need for a long-term review looking at whether the travel assessment carried out before the hospital was built has proved to be accurate. It needs to consider if the number of spaces will be sufficient when contractors leave and is enough being done to facilitate active travel and public transport options. Hopefully the problems can be resolved quickly to ensure the focus gets back to the fantastic care staff are already providing ”.

The hospital opened last week after what the health authority said was a smooth transfer of services and more than 200 patients from the old DGRI building, but a spokeswoman said the demand for parking was unforeseen, although action was taken.

She said: “We asked our contractors to remove their vehicles, offered staff alternative parking arrangements and encouraged staff and visitors to utilise the dedicated public transport services. Working in co-operation with public sector partners we’ve enhanced the green travel options available by the provision of cycle paths and walking routes. There is extensive cycle parking at the main hospital entrance and at the emergency entrance. There is also a full time Active Travel Officer supported by NHSD&G and the council who will continue to promote alternative travel methods. The travel plan and car parking capacity will be kept under review.”