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Monday, 01 September 2014

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Parking problems at Carlisle hospital under investigation

A health watchdog is investigating continuing problems with car parking at The Cumberland Infirmary in Carlisle, councillors were told.

Cumberland Infirmary photo
The Cumberland Infirmary

The issue was one of several problems raised with Healthwatch Cumbria by the county council’s health scrutiny committee.

Carlisle Castle ward councillor Willie Whalen told the meeting he believed “no serious effort” had been put in to solving the problem – though as recently as last month hospital bosses said they were tackling the issue

Mr Whalen told the meeting: “It’s getting worse, not better. The lives of people living in the area around the hospital are made a misery by this because they can’t get parked.

“It’s highly unsatisfactory.

“It’s even affecting the school in that area, and sooner or later the hospital is going to have to get to grips with it. There’s a big chunk of land beside the hospital which could be used for parking.

“We’ve also got an empty car park in the middle of Caldewgate. It’s crazy.

“At the hospital, people are having to park on top of one another. This has gone on for far too long.”

The meeting was told that the issue had been identified as a top priority for many locals.

In January, former Carlisle MP Eric Martlew, who is a now shadow governor for the hospitals trust, took the board to task on the issue.

He said that parking had been a major problem at the Infirmary for years.

Mr Martlew told a meeting: “I know of people who come here and spend half an hour driving round the car park. When they have their blood pressure taken it’s sky high.

“There are also people who have been driving round, missed their appointments and gone home.”

Trust bosses said they were already looking at how to tackle the issue.

Chief executive Ann Farrar said there were problems at both the Cumberland Infirmary and West Cumberland Hospital.

She has asked interim estates director, Steven Bannister, to have a look at the issues and come up with some possible solutions.

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