NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Call for blanket ban on NHS parking charges to end

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Media captionConcerns have been raised about parking at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary

A blanket ban on parking charges at NHS hospitals in Scotland should be lifted, it has been claimed.

BBC Scotland has learned that, at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary (ARI), some outpatients are risking fines to make sure they get to appointments on time.

The Scotland Patients Association said the situation must be tackled immediately.

The Scottish government said NHS boards had a duty to manage their car parking appropriately.

Car parking charges at NHS sites in Scotland were abolished from the start of 2009.

Unions have received complaints from members about the issue, and argue parking problems have intensified since the blanket ban.

'Crisis point'

Staff at ARI have said outpatients are often more than half an hour late for appointments because they cannot get parked.

One nurse said she had given over her parking space to a woman who was an hour late for her chemotherapy session.

Aberdeen South MP Anne Begg said: "The situation at ARI is at crisis point, it has got so ridiculous that people are getting parking tickets to go to a clinic or visit relatives."

Patient Alice Urquhart said parking concerns had added to her worries about seeing her cancer specialist.

Needs of all

Gary Mortimer, general manager for facilities and estates with NHS Grampian, said when there were charges there was revenue of £1m.

He said any measures would have to come from core NHS funds.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: "The abolition of car parking charges did not end the duty of NHS Boards to manage their car parking appropriately and to balance the parking needs of patients, visitors and staff.

"As a result of ongoing concerns about the parking at Foresterhill, NHS Grampian have reviewed their car parking management policy to better balance the needs of all car park users.

"The revised policy was approved by the NHS board in August and will be introduced by April."

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