Not enough staff parking at Southmead Hospital until 2015
STAFF at the new £430 million Southmead hospital have been told there will not be enough parking spaces for them for a year after it opens.
The hospital is due to admit its first patients in May next year. But it will be 2015 before there will be sufficient spaces for doctors, nurses and other staff.
It is because old buildings which are currently in use have to be demolished to make way for new parking spaces.
A new multi-storey car park on the Southmead site currently used by staff and members of the public will only be available for patients and visitors.
The news has angered staff at the North Bristol trust, which runs both Southmead and Frenchay hospitals.
Some are said to be "incensed" by the decision which has been labelled as "ridiculous".
There are concerns the lack of staff parking will lead to streets surrounding the hospital becoming packed with cars belonging to hospital staff.
Councillor Cheryl Ann, who represents the Horfield ward which includes the hospital, believes it could have a significant impact on residents.
One employee said: "We are talking about thousands of members of staff travelling to Southmead with nowhere to park.
"Surely this is insane. I would think that unless they can build the multi-storey car park for staff before the move, then the move should not take place.
Another said residents needed to be warned about potential parking chaos, and said they need to "expect car parking extraordinaire".
"What are staff supposed to do? All we want is to get into work…
"So patients can park but not staff. I hope they find a doctor, receptionist or nurse somewhere in the hospital."
Around 7,000 employees currently work at the trust's hospitals but the trust anticipates about 700 to 800 moving to other NHS facilities ahead of the move to the new Southmead.
The shortage of staff parking spaces came to light after the trust carried out a survey about how workers travelled to work.
Ms Ann, who lives near the hospital, said: "People are always going to take the easy option.
"At the risk of there not being a space when they get to the hospital they are going to park in the easiest space possible and if they can park locally they are not going to risk getting into work late.
"I receive a flurry of emails from people who are not entitled to permits at the hospital who need to drop their kids to school before work.
"I would urge people not to park, or to park sensitively on local roads. The damage is beyond not having a parking space. There are the elderly and disabled people living near the hospital whose carers and meals on wheels can't get to them."
The trust has raised the possibility of setting up a park and ride service for staff or possibly a lift-sharing scheme to combat the problem.
One employee was concerned that the proposed alternatives to driving, such as walking or cycling, were not practical for those who live too far away or did not have bicycles or scooters.
A spokesman for the trust said it was committed to providing sufficient parking for patients and visitors when the new hospital opens.
"For just over a year, staff parking will be restricted until we demolish the old buildings that will no longer be required after we have moved into the new hospital and build a second multi-storey car park and create additional staff parking," he said.
"We're telling staff about this early so they can consider and plan their options in terms of how they will get to work when we move.
"The trust is looking at a range of measures to support staff to use other forms of transport and to provide off-site parking to replace the spaces that will be temporarily lost. This could include park-and-ride solutions. The survey aims to gauge opinions on these ideas.
"There will still be staff parking spaces on site. How these are allocated is still being reviewed."
The hospital trust previously said if staff park outside the hospital they are encouraged to park considerately and responsibly.