Car park chaos puts patients at risk, say staff

Nurses at NHS hospitals in Gloucestershire warn staff are missing the start of their shifts and vital handover

Nurses at NHS hospitals in Gloucestershire say inadequate staff car parking facilities are creating concerns over patient safety.

A shortage of staff car parking spaces means it can take more than an hour to park, according to nurses at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital, which means they are then late to start shifts and can miss handover information. The same difficulties have been reported at Cheltenham General Hospital.

Nurses on nights also reported working beyond their hours to cover for colleagues who are late due to the parking problems.

Nurse Denise Blake, who works at both hospitals, told the Gloucestershire Echo she believes patient safety may be at risk because of the delays.

She said: ‘Tuesdays are the worst days and you can be queuing for over an hour.

‘People don't get home on time for early shifts. It's leaving departments short staffed and patients are being put at risk.’

Staff members pay for parking permits, but this does not guarantee a space, a trust spokesperson confirmed.

The trust told Nursing Standard: ‘We are currently experiencing increased demand for staff car parking spaces. We are working closely with our parking partners Indigo; who are assisting with staff wherever possible to maintain the balance between ensuring both our patients and visitors and our hospital staff have access to parking spaces when they need them.

‘We recognise that it is frustrating for staff who have paid for their permits not to be able to find spaces at the car parks when they need to, and we are aware of the particular problem regarding queuing at our multi-storey car park at Gloucestershire Royal Hospital.’

The trust said it was exploring alternative car parking options and that staff were encouraged to use alternative travel options such as car shares, discounted bus travel and the trust’s park and ride and cycle to work schemes.

An RCN South West region spokesperson said staff side representatives at the trust are aware of the issue, adding: 'They are working with the trust to identify solutions.'

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