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Parking Problems At Health Centre
A storm has broken out over parking at the new £19.6 million Hunter Health Centre.
While doctors and district nurses will be given allocated parking, many of the 350-plus staff moving to the new premises from elsewhere in East Kilbride and beyond say they will face forking out hundreds of pounds in parking – and that’s only if they can find a space.
“Staff, many of whom are on the lower end of the pay scale, are furious over what they claim is a lack of consideration by NHS Lanarkshire.”
There was even the threat of a sit-in in the old building after an anonymous letter was sent to all the practices but it is believed there wasn’t enough support from medical staff for it to go ahead.
A new multi-storey car park is due to be completed on the site of the existing health centre by December but a practice manager has said that he fears there will be insufficient spaces for staff, patients and those visiting the town centre.
Patients at the new state-of-the-art health centre will be given 90 minutes’ free parking but George Hay, manager at the Hunter Green, practice say staff, many of whom are on the lower end of the pay scale, are furious over what they claim is a lack of consideration by NHS Lanarkshire.
Mr Hay said: “We feel that this new multi-million facility is being built with a minimum of car parking then staff are just being left high and dry to sort it themselves. It seems the staff who can least afford it, like the many lower paid staff affected by this, will have to pay £5-£7 per day for parking – that’s approximately £140 per month.”
“Staff are not just coming from East Kilbride, they are coming from all over and many of them have never been used to paying for parking where they worked before. It’s not just the cost that is the issue, there simply won’t be enough spaces for everyone when you take into account patients and others using the multi-storey. And this isn’t going to be ready until December so it will be chaos in the meantime with staff having to park all over East Kilbride.”
He added: “We have been in consultation with NHS Lanarkshire for the last two years and they seem unwilling to budge. Originally, no staff were getting allocated spaces but then doctors and district nurses were told they would. Patients will get to park free for 90 minutes at the new health centre but, of course, this will be exploited as people going elsewhere in the town centre will park for 90 minutes then move elsewhere. The heath board seem stuck on the ‘green policy’ of trying to get people to use alternative means of transport but for many staff this simply won’t be practical.”
A spokesman for NHS Lanarkshire said:
“NHS Lanarkshire will have parking spaces for 230 vehicles at the new multi-storey car park which will be opposite the new Hunter Community Health Centre. This will be an increase of 180 spaces on the parking available at the former site.
“In addition to this there will be a further 107 public car parking spaces bringing the total number of spaces to 337.
“As with all car parking provision, it is necessary to appropriately manage the allocation and utilisation of spaces to ensure that parking is proportionate, fair and equitable for all users, be they patients, eligible NHS staff or the public.
“To help us achieve this we undertook a consultation exercise which included holding a series of workshops and formal meetings with NHS staff representatives, GP practice representatives, and Public Partnership Forum (PPF) representatives.
“This has also involved South Lanarkshire Council, who will be responsible for the operation of the new multi-storey car park.
“While the exact arrangements have yet to be agreed, we wanted to apply the broad principle that NHS staff based at the new centre who require a vehicle for business purposes – for example GPs, district nurses or community midwives – will be allocated a parking permit.
“Staff who do not have a parking permit will still be able to use the remaining public car parking spaces.
“As with all NHS Lanarkshire car parks, parking is free. However, to reduce abuse and maximise the number of spaces available for patients and the public, patient parking will be limited to 90 minutes with those who exceed this having a fixed penalty applied. For the very small number of consultations which may exceed 90 minutes, arrangements will be put in place.”
There will also be a shuttle bus between Atholl House, the town centre car park and Hunter Community Health Centre will be in operation until the multi-storey car park is complete in December.