Parking woes at £430m Southmead Hospital

Gazette Series: One of the car parks at Southmead Hospital (6763761) One of the car parks at Southmead Hospital (6763761)

SOUTHMEAD Hospital has found itself embroiled in controversy after Charlotte Leslie – Conservative MP for Bristol North West announced she was going to investigate parking shortages at the hospital.

The hospital fully opened last month at a cost of £430 million as a replacement for the dated Frenchay hospital.

Four of the five levels of the hospital’s multi-storey car park are now available to the public but many people still find themselves having to wait over half an hour before they find a parking space.

In April Ms Leslie brought up the issue of staff parking with the North Bristol NHS Trust after it was reported that hundreds of members of staff at the hospital could quit due to a lack of parking.

She said: “NHS management has not always had a good reputation for listening to worries of staff as we have seen elsewhere. I don’t want our new Southmead Hospital to follow suit. I want this to be a hospital where whistle-blowers concerns are clearly heard and acted upon.

“We must not have a situation where the trust makes it so difficult for staff to get to work that they quit, thus putting patient safety at risk.

“I am looking forward to answers from the trust, clarifying their plans for catering for staff parking as the first step in trying to resolve this situation.”

Southmead Hospital will be constructing a new car park which is due to be completed by autumn 2015 and will increase the hospital’s number of parking spaces from 600 to 2,700.

This, however will involve the decommissioning and destruction of existing buildings on the site and, as of yet has not been started.

When the Gazette visited the hospital it discovered many people waiting for in car parks for spaces to become available.

One of them was David Brown from Kingswood who said: “I have to sit in the car while my wife goes to her appointment, I’ve been waiting for a space for nearly 15 minutes and now she has to go in alone or she'll be late.”

Sue Simpson, 50, from Thornbury was concerned about the lack of organisation at the hospital.

She said: “Its rubbish, the layout here is awful – buses block the roads and it takes forever to even get into a car park and when you do it’s full.

“I left 30 minutes early to get here for my appointment and now I might be late because there are no spaces.”

The multi-storey car park did have available parking spaces at the time.

Simon Wood the Director for Facilities for the North Bristol NHS Trust released a statement in response to the parking issues.

“A few weeks ago we did experience difficulties around parking and as a direct result we opened an additional floor of our multi-storey car park to patients and visitors. This means that four out of the five floors are for public use.

“We have been monitoring car parking spaces since this change and found that at all times of the day, there have been an ample number of spaces available at car parks across the site.”

Last week Seagulls damaged the roof of the new building by dropping stones on it as part of their mating ritual and the hospital has also been criticised for spending almost £250,000 on an ‘unreadable’ clock.

A spokesman for the North Bristol NHS Trust said: “As part of the arts programme, we needed an installation that would cover the three atria along the 290m space.

"This is our largest and most significant commission. The light sculptures do enable you to tell the time, but it is not their primary function.”

Comments (3)

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12:13am Fri 6 Jun 14

regeroon says...

Simon Wood you are a liar, I have been coming to Southmead for nearly a year whilst my girlfriend goes through her breast care for cancer. Every single time we struggle to get spaces. On occasions we have had to leave the site to find parking on the local streets. The stress this puts my girlfriend under is out of order with everything else that she has had to go through. You need to have a good look at your parking and this time tell the truth.
Simon Wood you are a liar, I have been coming to Southmead for nearly a year whilst my girlfriend goes through her breast care for cancer. Every single time we struggle to get spaces. On occasions we have had to leave the site to find parking on the local streets. The stress this puts my girlfriend under is out of order with everything else that she has had to go through. You need to have a good look at your parking and this time tell the truth. regeroon
  • Score: 10

12:49am Sat 7 Jun 14

Chipping Resident says...

This quote...

" A spokesman for the North Bristol NHS Trust said: “As part of the arts programme, we needed an installation that would cover the three atria along the 290m space. This is our largest and most significant commission. The light sculptures do enable you to tell the time, but it is not their primary function.”

Given frequent public criticism of public bodies who make poor use of public money I fail to understand how NB NHS Trust can in any way not see the problem. What in God's name is a hospital doing having an "arts programme" in the first place? What's next, paramedics treating you with mime? Cancer treatment via the medium of dance? And two hundred and thirty thousand pounds? How many consultants or MRI scans could that have paid for? Or how many parking spaces or anything, dare I say it, practical or useful?

This is Thatcher's legacy. The slow move to privitsation in which idiotic finance people are given all the authority and make marketing and image their number one concern. It's like the problems with Bristol cardiac surgery; "Don't pay more money for a more qualified surgeon, spend it on a PR guru."

Southmead have tried to generate a lot of publicity for their new unit but it seems the key people driving the scheme and its promotion have a reality problem. This is what happens when you don't have direct accountability because if it were a fully private business, they wouldn't last a month.

People are still losing jobs because of the credit crunch. Most health trusts are operating under diminishing budgets. But Southmead thinks it's a good idea to blow a quarter of a million on an arts clock. Insult to injury, if usual hospital contract cleaners are anything to go by, give it five years and the clock will be covered with dust containing antimicrobial resistant organisms.

Earth calling Southmead. Earth calling Southmead...
This quote... " A spokesman for the North Bristol NHS Trust said: “As part of the arts programme, we needed an installation that would cover the three atria along the 290m space. This is our largest and most significant commission. The light sculptures do enable you to tell the time, but it is not their primary function.” Given frequent public criticism of public bodies who make poor use of public money I fail to understand how NB NHS Trust can in any way not see the problem. What in God's name is a hospital doing having an "arts programme" in the first place? What's next, paramedics treating you with mime? Cancer treatment via the medium of dance? And two hundred and thirty thousand pounds? How many consultants or MRI scans could that have paid for? Or how many parking spaces or anything, dare I say it, practical or useful? This is Thatcher's legacy. The slow move to privitsation in which idiotic finance people are given all the authority and make marketing and image their number one concern. It's like the problems with Bristol cardiac surgery; "Don't pay more money for a more qualified surgeon, spend it on a PR guru." Southmead have tried to generate a lot of publicity for their new unit but it seems the key people driving the scheme and its promotion have a reality problem. This is what happens when you don't have direct accountability because if it were a fully private business, they wouldn't last a month. People are still losing jobs because of the credit crunch. Most health trusts are operating under diminishing budgets. But Southmead thinks it's a good idea to blow a quarter of a million on an arts clock. Insult to injury, if usual hospital contract cleaners are anything to go by, give it five years and the clock will be covered with dust containing antimicrobial resistant organisms. Earth calling Southmead. Earth calling Southmead... Chipping Resident
  • Score: 6

7:44am Mon 9 Jun 14

Thornburyboy says...

Southmead may be in Bristol but the architects of the scheme seem to have overlooked the fact that it's patients come not only from the city but a large rural hinterland devoid of public transport. Not only does this centralisation impose a substantial travel commitment on its patients and their friends and families but to add insult to injury, the only viable means for many to travel is completely overlooked.
Southmead may be in Bristol but the architects of the scheme seem to have overlooked the fact that it's patients come not only from the city but a large rural hinterland devoid of public transport. Not only does this centralisation impose a substantial travel commitment on its patients and their friends and families but to add insult to injury, the only viable means for many to travel is completely overlooked. Thornburyboy
  • Score: 6

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