It is impossible to put a price on visiting a loved one who is in poor health in hospital, but that should not mean that we are subject to extortionate parking fees for the privilege.
According to a report in The Guardian, hospital trusts made more than £226 million in the 2017 to 2018 period from parking and penalty fines, not just from visitors and patients of hospitals but also from trusted and loyal staff members.
Whilst hospital parking charges have been mainly abolished all together in Scotland and Wales, England has continued to increase its parking fees with some increasing by more than 13 percent on the year prior.
Add this to the many inconvenient parking and payment systems in place at hospitals around the country and one can only conclude that there has to be a better solution than making the sick, the relatives of the sick and the staff that care for them, pay both financially and health wise for these oversights.
Staff Parking Charges
Most of us are more than aware of the pressure put on hospital staff to carry out their day to day responsibilities including underfunding, lack of resources and staff and the emotional pressure that working with the sick can induce. Add to that the limited wages and then a whopping parking cost annually just to be able to go to work and do your job (helping the sick) and you can see why the NHS faces ongoing challenges in attracting new staff and in the retention of those already in place.
According to a report by the RAC, there are a number of NHS Trusts that charge some of their lowest paid staff over 1000 pounds per year to park within the grounds of their working premises.
If it isn’t enough to charge the staff who are caring for the sick, the sick pay too. If you are suffering from any form of illness, no matter how severe and need treatment at the hospital on a regular basis, you too like staff members and visitors will be both charged and penalised if you do not conform with parking rules, restrictions and timings no matter what your state of health.
Another restriction imposed on those parking in hospital grounds is the lack of payment options. In this day and age, a plethora of payment options should be made available as most people generally don’t carry change around or cash in general with them to any extent. Yet still, so many hospital parking facilities don’t cater for a variety of car parking payment options leaving hospital staff, patients and visitors with little options available if they don’t have the right change or alternative payment method.
Lack of Adequate Parking
Let’s, face it every driver who finds themselves needing to park in hospital grounds only needs to do so for one of three reasons; as a patient, a visitor or staff member. None of these parties wants to spend endless amounts of time searching for a convenient parking spot and dealing with parking ticket machines knowing that their only reason for being there is of great importance and likely never by choice. There is a big difference between the need to park within hospital grounds to visit, treat or be treated to parking in the city centre to saunter around the shops.
With so many areas of concern when it comes to parking at hospitals it doesn’t take a genius to understand that measures need to be taken in order to eradicate some of the major problems experienced by drivers looking to park within hospital grounds. Here are some of the main solutions available to help improve these parking conditions for staff, patients and visitors.
Many car parking facilities are now turning to AI (Artificial Intelligence) methods to streamline their parking process. This means no more pay and display parking machines, no more searching for hours to find an available spot and discount structures made available for frequent parking users within hospitals such as severely ill patients and hospital staff.
The advances of technology mean that parking no longer needs to be stressful. A variety of Apps are now available where those responsible for hospital parking can show real time information as to the location of vacant spaces. They can allow staff and patients to pre-pay and book their parking space via the app with advanced ticket parking machines and pay and display which utilise car registration recognition.
Strategically located cameras can not only highlight available parking but can also help car park attendants identify those who are not parked correctly or who are restricting places for those who really need them like the elderly, disabled and infirm. Contrary to popular belief this type of parking intelligence will create jobs meaning everyone wins in the process.
By hospitals implementing some, or a combination of all these factors they will reduce the stress and complications associated with parking in hospital grounds. As a result of these advances car park ticket machines and pay and display will be more advanced than ever. Those parking will find a suitable space quicker which in turn will help with increased traffic flow and will have several options to pay as they leave meaning they do not have to worry about fines and limited time frames.
Whether just the addition of state of the art pay and display and automated car parking payment machines or a full overhaul to incorporate a fully integrated Smart parking system, those responsible for hospital parking can only assist those using their facilities to overcome the biggest stresses and hurdles associated with this type of parking whilst creating a smoother operation within their own business.
The whole system once streamlined will help promote user friendly parking, reduced costs for frequent users and ultimately become a more stress free experience for staff, patients and their visitors.