Hospital Car Parking – A Proposed Triage System

car park

People are angry about NHS funding, but in general they are more angry about hospital car parking. There are not enough spaces, there are too many queues and it costs too much.

At my local hospital, drivers seem to enjoy the drama of a long queue for the car park. They can drop the patient off for the asthma check-up or to have a plaster cast removed at the hospital front door and then join the car park queue. It makes a really good anecdote for later if the hospital appointment is completed before the driver is actually in the car park.

As it’s a city hospital, there are other car parks nearby – some of them fairly empty and most have similar prices. Or you can park in the supermarket car park, pop in for a chocolate bar and then walk back to the car via the hospital. But most people seem fixated on the hospital car park as their right as a patient or visitor.

In Accident and Emergency, there is a way of allocating medical help to those whose need is most urgent, called the triage system. My proposal is for a parking triage system for hospital visitors so that those who need the spaces can beat the queues.

1 Immediate parking allocation
Anyone visiting a patient whose life is in danger or with hours left to live.
2 Very urgent.
Anyone with mobility problems who has a timed out-patient appointment.
3 Urgent.
Other outpatients with timed appointments.
4 Standard.
Anyone visiting a child or vulnerable adult in hospital.
5 Non-urgent.
General hospital visitors who don’t know any other car parks and can’t come by bus; bringing a spare nightie in for mum, returning a pair of crutches, visiting father-in-law, collecting a letter or those who just like to have a cuppa in the WRVS tea shop.

The WRVS Cafe in the Grounds of St James's Hospital, which is being closed down by the NHS trust, against the wishes of the volunteers and its many customers. Pictured serving volunteer Jean Batty.

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