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Parking crisis at Carlisle hospital as bad as ever

A parking crisis at Carlisle’s Cumberland Infirmary is as bad as ever despite assurances from bosses that it would be eased.

William Strong photo
William Strong

Former MP Eric Martlew, now shadow governor of the hospitals trust, took the board to task on the issue at a meeting in January.

The issue was also flagged up by the area’s health watchdog as a top priority for residents, with city councillor Willie Whalen saying no serious effort was being made to make things better for patients.

Ann Farrar, chief executive of the North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust, said she was aware of concerns and promised it would “definitely” be tackled soon.

She added that she had asked interim estates manager Steven Bannister to have a look at the problems on both the Carlisle and Whitehaven hospital sites and report back to the board with possible solutions.

But four months later his report has still not been published.

Mr Bannister told The Cumberland News: “We recognise that there has been a rise in demand for car parking spaces at the Cumberland Infirmary due to a number of factors including increased staffing levels and patient flow.

“As a priority, we are currently working on a number of proposals to help address car parking issues and will update all stakeholders as soon as we are in a position to do so.”

But Carlisle pensioner William Strong, who drives to the hospital every few months for check-ups, said it was a matter of real urgency.

The 87-year-old, of Highwood Crescent, Harraby, described how he now had to get there more than an hour before his appointment for fear of missing it.

“It’s an absolute disaster. For people of Carlisle who have to go up for treatment, you just dread it,” he said.

“It’s not only me. Everyone I know says the same. It’s getting really serious.

“I’m bad at walking so have to drive. I was there a few weeks back. My appointment was 1.45pm but I had to get there at 12.30pm to get a space, and when I did it was packed. I had to drive round and round until someone eventually came out.

“You shouldn’t be in that frame of mind when you are going to hospital.

“It was really dangerous. They were parking on the red lines, even right round to the helipad.

“If an ambulance had to get through there it would have been impossible. If anything it’s getting worse.”

Mr Martlew said that after giving a personal promise to address parking, it was time the chief executive gave an indication of how this would happen.

Have your say

I work at the hospital and can't walk or take the bus as i travel 18 miles, it's just as bad for staff as it is for patients and we pay for parking too. I think there are several answers, 1 move the work back to West Cumbria as the poor relatives and patients have to travel from there for treatment to Carlisle, ridiculous. 2 either take away the grass areas or knock down the old hospital and use it for car parking. 3 quickly sort out the acquisition either way as its causing all sorts of issues and one of them is car parking.

Posted by J on 11 June 2014 at 16:49

To all those saying use the bus, what happens if you live in an outlying area with 1 bus a day (if you're lucky?) I spent 3 months visiting my dad daily at Carlisle Hospital. On one occasion I spent 45 minutes driving round the car park to find a space - stressful isn't the word with someone lying seriously ill in Hospital without the added stress of parking. And what if you have cancer/are infirm/elderly - does you carer bring you on the bus or park a 15 minute walk away in the overflow car park - which is ALWAYS full.....sort it out someone.

Posted by cb on 11 June 2014 at 09:06

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