Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Cameras to monitor hospital car park to stop abuse of spaces

Cameras to monitor hospital car park to stop abuse of spaces

CAMERAS with automatic number plate recognition software are set to be introduced at the car park at Townlands Memorial Hospital in Henley.

The move is designed to stop drivers abusing the parking spaces at the new
£10 million hospital.

It follows complaints that staff and patients with appointments at the hospital are sometimes unable to find a parking space because shoppers are using the car park.

The scheme will also cover the neighbouring Chilterns Court Care Centre and the car park for the Bell and Hart GP surgeries but will work slightly differently for the latter.

For the surgeries anyone with an appointment can enter their vehicle’s registration details at reception and will be given 90 minutes of free parking.

There will also be a 15-minute grace period for drivers dropping off or picking up other people.

Fines of up to £100 can be issued to those who overstay their time allowance or fail to provide their details.

The scheme, which could be in place by the end of this month, will be administered by Smart Parking, which also runs the car park at Mill Meadows, which is owned by Henley Town Council.

Despite the new scheme, the surgeries have warned that the parking spaces should be reserved for those most in need.

A leaflet says: “The surgery car park does not have enough spaces for all our patients to park and therefore it is reserved for those who are disabled, frail or acutely unwell. Able-bodied patients should park elsewhere.”

The rules for the hospital and care home will apply to their car parks only and patients will not be able to use the surgeries’ spaces.

Details of the scheme are still being finalised by NHS Property Services, which is responsible for the site, but it will not involve charging. A company spokesman said: “We continue to work with Amber Infrastructure, NHS partners, the adjacent GP practices, local residents and a parking contractor to finalise arrangements for a new parking management system at Townlands Memorial
Hospital.

“The aim of the system is to ensure patients can find a space at the hospital and park for free. Full details will be provided as soon as arrangements are confirmed.”

Meanwhile, the hospital’s new rapid access care unit is now seeing patients.

The unit was originally due to open in March last year but this was delayed by the need to convert the first floor, which was built according to the original plans for an
18-bed ward.

It offers services such as antibiotic treatment and transfusions and is operating alongside a minor injuries unit, podiatry, outpatient services, physiotherapy and out-of-hours GP services.

Patients can be referred to the unit by their GPs. There are also up to 11 beds for use by the unit at the care centre. Health chiefs revealed that nobody was referred to the unit on its first day in January.

Christine Hewitt, head of urgent care at Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, said this was not unexpected and it would need some time to “build up momentum”.

The unit has treated several patients since but Oxford Health was unable to provide specific figures.

One of the first to be treated was Olive Cummins, who lives near Henley.

She said: “The service is absolutely top class. When you have any queries you only have to ask and they are answered. I would recommend this service to anyone.”

Kirsty Blee, who is clinical lead for the unit, said “We hold ourselves to the high standards which patients and families expect and we’ve already had some really positive feedback.

“We’re just a few weeks in and I can genuinely say it has been really rewarding working in the unit. It makes the team’s day when people tell us how we’ve been able to help and that they’d recommend our service.”

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