New parking system at Hexham hospital
A new parking system which will reduce the daily charge by half is to be implemented at Hexham General Hospital from next month.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s pilot scheme will see the maximum daily charge for parking reduce from £4 to £2. In addition, patients and visitors paying to park for an hour (£1.20) or a day (£2) will receive a free regular hot drink available at either the hospital’s café or restaurant.
For patients and visitors to claim this, the trust is introducing a split ticket – where one part is left in the vehicle and the other part detached to present in the café/restaurant.
The daily charge will apply for 24 hours from the time of payment so someone visiting in the evening will also be covered should they need to return the next day.
Patients and visitors who only need to stay for short periods can still make use of the free 20-minute period in place to assist pick-ups and drop-offs.
Payment machines and signage are to be changed for the new system, which comes into effect on Monday 1 December.
Steven Bannister, director of estates and facilities at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “We are sure that patients and visitors will find these extremely positive changes as the daily cost of parking is being reduced by half, plus people will receive a free hot drink.
“Initially the scheme will only be in operation at Hexham hospital however, if it is a success, it could be rolled out trust-wide.
“As a trust, we do need to charge for parking so we can cover the cost of maintaining our car parks and continue to invest in patient care whilst developing local services, however, as this scheme demonstrates, we are committed to helping our patients and visitors where we can.”
The scheme has no impact on disabled (blue) badge holders or concessionary parking which is available to long-term patients and their visitors – these people continue to be exempt from charges.
Hexham MP Guy Opperman said: “I really welcome this news and am very pleased we have been able to find this compromise. I have long campaigned for a reduction in car parking charges and Hexham being the pilot for halving the daily parking rate is a fantastic step in the right direction. I first called on the trust to reduce their parking charges in May and I am pleased they have listened.
“Visiting friends and family in hospital can be a deeply worrying time and the last thing people need at such times is to have to think about parking charges. Northumbria Healthcare is an outstanding trust with exemplary staff and quality services, and this change in parking policy is one I very much welcome. Longer term I hope they will also consider their approach to parking charges for their staff.”
Patients of the two GP practices on the Hexham hospital site can continue to park free of charge for their appointments by making use of the free 40-minute parking in place for GP practice patients.