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Friday, September 29, 2006

Parking woes

At my hospital, working hours are as follows:

Nurses, healthcare assistants and A&E staff work early shifts (7am - 3pm), evening shifts (2:00pm - 10pm), late shifts (6pm - 2am), night shifts (7pm - 8am), and long shifts (8am - 8pm).

Other doctors work normal hours (8am - 6pm), unless we are "on call", which is roughly twice a week, in which case we work from 8am - 11pm. Once a month, we work a week of overnight oncall shifts (9pm to 11am).

Other healthcare staff (radiographers, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, porters, security) work normal hours with the occasional overnight shift.

Most of us drive to work and park within the staff parking lots.

This is because there is only one bus from the city centre to the hospital (45 minutes drive away). This bus only runs from 8am - 8pm. It does not run on Sundays. There is no available night bus.

Recently, hospital/NHS managers have decided that our hospital is in debt. One of the ways they have decided to get the Trust out of debt is by raising the carparking charges for visitors. In order to maximise the amount of revenue brought in by the car park fees, they have decided to reduce the number of staff parking lots in the hospital.

All medical and healthcare staff had to hand in their permits. New parking permits were issued by a lottery. Now, most of the nurses and doctors have to park in the nearest town, and walk into work. It is a 20 minute walk to the nearest carpark outside the hospital. This is not free, by the way - it's £5-10 a day depending on which car park one parks in.

You might think that this is okay - 20 minutes is good exercise. But most of the nurses and doctors who are working late or overnight shifts will have to walk 15 minutes through a dark, unlit field in order to get to their car. This is scary and dangerous.


We brought our complaints to the NHS managers about the new parking rules. We asked if staff could park in the visitors lots during night shifts. We asked if a shuttle service could be provided to the train station in the city centre outside working hours and on weekends.

Their answer? No. Carpool or share parking lots. Nice, non-feasible, non-practical options.

What really makes me unhappy is that the NHS managers and departmental staff (eg. payroll, medical staffing clerks etc) kept their allocated parking lots. NHS managers and secretaries only work 9-5pm, and they don't work on weekends! Why can't they take the bus to work or park in town then? Maybe they want to protect their Prada shoes and Savile Row suits?

Some of my nurses have handed in their resignation.

NHS managers out there? Nice work, guys. Thanks.

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