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Burton's Queen's Hospital car park system gets a test drive from Mail reporter Steve Ashby

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 07, 2014

  • Burton Hospita,l Car Parking Feature with Steve Ashby

Comments (2)

THERE has been much uproar about parking issues at Burton's Queen's Hospital in recent times.

When the system was 'simplified' this week in an attempt to make things easier to understand, I – as a new face in the town – was tasked with investigating.

I arrived at the Belvedere Road site at around 11am. It was moderately busy, as you would expect.

I pulled in to be confronted with a sign that said 'car park' with two arrows pointing in opposite directions.

It didn't say what car park – for example A&E or maternity. It just said 'car park'.

I decided to take my chances and turn right, and luckily I found it.

I stopped at the first turn and what I thought was the entrance to the car park, but in fact happened to be the exit.

Surely for the sake of emergencies it would be more useful to have the entrance to the car park as close as possible to the entrance to the hospital, but that wasn't the case.

I had to drive about another 150 yards or so before I came to the actual entrance, where I saw a sign next to the barrier telling me to make a note of the time on entry and exit.

So despite the car park having automatic numberplate recognition, the responsibility of knowing exactly the length of my stay had suddenly been passed on to me.

Luckily, in this instance, I wasn't panicking over an emergency, but what about if I were frantically rushing somebody to hospital?

I parked up found that the payment machines were inside, which made sense.

What didn't make sense was that when I came to pay for my stay I wasn't told how much I owed – a gripe voiced by many ever since Parking Eye took over the running of the car park in October last year.

I had to know how long I had been there in order to pay the correct amount.

If I got this wrong, I would soon be greeted by a £70 fine landing on my doorstep.

The old system of having to guess how long you would be at the hospital in advance has been replaced with having to calculate how long you had actually been there.

It's easy to understand the anger of people who frequent the hospital, when all it would take is a parking meter that issues a ticket on entry to use when you come to pay.

Another problem was that I am one of the many people who does not know their car registration plate off by heart.

Unfortunately I needed this to pay for my visit, so was forced to run out to my car in the rain, which again would be a real issue for somebody who had trouble with mobility.

It seemed to me that the whole system had not been properly thought through.

Confusing signage, followed by the exit coming before the entrance and then having to play guessing games when you pay.

Fun at the Wacky Warehouse perhaps, but inappropriate for a hospital.

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  • From the Ether  |  August 09 2014, 8:27AM

    Yes, a stupid system!! First time I used it I had to go out to the carpark to look at my number plate. Next time it was easier but Interesting to watch others pondering & puzzling the built in complexity. I always find the people who devise systems never follow it up with a 'blind test' such as this article in the BM.

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  • mattlong  |  August 08 2014, 12:30AM

    In life people make mistakes. Hospital management introduced a system in good faith and it hasn't worked. Most reasonably minded people can forgive this. What is unforgivable however is the dogged determination of hospital management to desperately cling to the remnants of a totally flawed and bankrupt system. As a volunteer worker at the hospital I have personally witnessed first hand the stress and pressure that many people visiting sick and in some cases dying relatives are under. It is morally abominable that people who are under extreme stress at difficult points in their lives as relatives of the sic should be 'responsibilised' to remember at what exact time they pulled up into the hospital car park. These people are at a low ebb. They are stressed. They are vulnerable, To fine them as we have seen in several high profile cases is morally wrong. They are not trying to cheat the system. This continues to disgust me. Its indicative of a wider trend in society to demonise people and assume everyone is on the proverbial 'take'.

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