Wednesday, 04 August 2021

GPs urge patients to stop using shared car park

HENLEY’S two GP surgeries are urging people not to use their shared car park unless they have an appointment

HENLEY’S two GP surgeries are urging people not to use their shared car park unless they have an appointment.

The Hart and Bell practices, both off York Road, say patients often struggle to find spaces because they are taken up by shoppers.

Some have visited to see a doctor or nurse but then walk into town instead of driving away to park elsewhere.

They face no penalty as the car park is not ticketed and there is no waiting limit although there are signs asking people to only park for consultations.

The surgeries say this is the most frequent complaint they receive and the problem has persisted for many years.

However, they say they cannot do anything because it would take too much time and money to monitor and enforce. Their plea follows a complaint to the Henley Standard by reader Lisa McDonald, who recently took her son to an appointment at the Bell Surgery.

All 20 or so spaces were taken so Mrs McDonald, of St Andrew’s Road in Henley, dropped the youngster off and parked at the pay-and-display facility in King’s Road instead.

As she walked back to meet him, she spotted two women who were carrying shopping back to the surgery car park. She remonstrated with them but they insisted they were in the right as they’d had an appointment earlier.

The mother-of-three said: “Their attitude really surprised me and I was astonished when they complained that I was being rude.

“I’m able-bodied so it’s easy for me to drop someone off and walk from another car park. I’m more worried about those who aren’t able bodied and could get stuck in the rain.

“I was fine parking elsewhere but all around I could see people who would have struggled, like young mothers and elderly people.

“People think they can stay for the day and keep the space for themselves when others need it. Unless people start to think, this will keep happening.”

Chris Langley, senior partner at the Bell Surgery, said: “This is something we’ve observed for some time and it’s actually become worse lately.

“I don’t know whether that is linked to the construction work at Townlands Hospital but we shall see when that dies down.

“We always ask our staff to avoid parking here unless they need to and we would hope that patients stay for appointments and nothing else. They ought to be considerate but it’s hard once we’re in the surgery to monitor the situation. We would be most grateful if patients could co-operate.

“It would also be helpful if patients who can manage the walk could park elsewhere, leaving spaces for those who need them most.”

Philip Unwin, senior partner at the Hart Surgery, said: “Sadly, this is a problem all the time. It’s a nuisance but we can’t police it.

“We’ve tried clamping in the past but people have objected. It’s costly, time-consuming and it makes you look heavy-handed if you have people patrolling.

“It’s by far our most common complaint and I’m not quite sure what we can do apart from asking people not to do it.”

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