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Hospital parking improves for nurses – but safety issues remain

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh staff report long waits for shuttle bus and ‘feeling intimidated at the park-and-ride they have been directed to use’

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh staff report long waits for shuttle bus and ‘feeling intimidated at the park-and-ride they have been directed to use’

Hospital bosses have temporarily backed down on parking rules at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, which nurses and other healthcare professionals had labelled unsafe.

Thousands of staff members were refused a parking permit at the NHS Lothian-run hospital, which they said left them queuing for shuttle buses to and from the Sheriffhall park-and-ride located two-and-a-half miles away.

Just 1,800 of the 8,000 staff who work at the hospital have permits.

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh staff report long waits for shuttle bus and ‘feeling intimidated at the park-and-ride they have been directed to use’

Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh. Picture: iStock

Hospital bosses have temporarily backed down on parking rules at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, which nurses and other healthcare professionals had labelled unsafe.

Thousands of staff members were refused a parking permit at the NHS Lothian-run hospital, which they said left them queuing for shuttle buses to and from the Sheriffhall park-and-ride located two-and-a-half miles away.

Just 1,800 of the 8,000 staff who work at the hospital have permits.

Free parking and more shuttle buses made available to staff

But after talks with the RCN Lothian and Borders branch, and feedback from staff, hospital bosses have agreed to allow staff to park at the Little France car park site at the hospital without a permit after 11.30am on a four-week trial basis to improve support for staff working late shifts.

Two further free shuttle buses to the Sheriffhall park-and-ride have also been introduced following feedback from staff, one at 8.45pm and one at 9.15pm. Previously the last bus they could catch left at 8.15pm.

‘Staff working evenings and weekends, and staff required to attend while on-call or in an emergency, have car park access regardless of whether they have a permit,’ NHS Lothian said in a statement.

Nurses report safety fears over off-site parking

But RCN senior officer Ros Shaw said members have ‘lost trust’ in the health board and feel they have been left in a ‘position of vulnerability’.

‘They are reporting fearing for their safety and feeling intimidated at the park-and-ride they have been directed to use,’ she said.

‘Lack of spaces at the park-and-ride at times has led some staff to park in residential areas, which causes problems with local residents.’

Staff feeling ‘intimidated and unsafe’ due to parking situation

A petition to scrap staff parking permits at the hospital gathered more than 28,700 signatures in just a few weeks. It called for the situation to be urgently reassessed to ensure safe and fair parking for all staff, adding that workers were looking for work elsewhere as the conditions had become dire.

One nurse told Nursing Standard: ‘Medical staff are feeling intimidated and unsafe travelling to cars parked off site. Cars are being damaged.

‘It’s also adding a large amount of time onto an already very long day. It’s exhausting coupled with a very long intense 12.5 hour shift. Morale is at an all-time low.’

Another nurse said: ‘You have to queue for ages and then the bus leaves for the hospital as soon as it is full. I don’t feel safe leaving my car there.’

Meanwhile pictures posted on social media by staff show the hospital car park remains largely empty.


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