Lancaster hospital boss says sorry over parking crisis

Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
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The Royal Lancaster Infirmary has apologised to residents living close to the hospital over ongoing parking issues.

Aaron Cummins, CEO of University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Trust, said that at certain times of the day it was “virtually impossible” to find a parking space.

Aaron Cummins, Chief Executive at UHMBT.

Aaron Cummins, Chief Executive at UHMBT.

In 2017, Lancaster City Council approved plans for a new 1,500 space, six storey staff car park to the rear of Medical Unit 2, as well as 242 additional parking spaces on the existing vistor car park.

However Mr Cummins said in an open letter to residents this week that new plans would provide 550 staff spaces, 30 extra public spaces, and more Blue Badge spaces.

Mr Cummins said that during building work, the current staff car park would need to close and staff would be encouraged to use the Park and Ride at Junction 34 of the M6.

He said: “Demand for car parking at our hospitals has increased significantly over recent years, as has the number of patients and visitors and there are certain days and times of the day when it’s virtually impossible to find a parking space. It’s a real issue for our staff, our patients, and you – our neighbours. We are trying to take steps to alleviate the situation, and we have issued reminders to our colleagues working at our hospitals to be considerate if they are unable to find a space.

An artist's impression of the approved new RLI car park in 2017.

An artist's impression of the approved new RLI car park in 2017.

“I wish that I could promise that the issue will be solved to everyone’s satisfaction in a matter of weeks or a few months but, being very honest, it is much more difficult than that.”

It is not yet clear when the new car park would be built, but Mr Cummins said that the trust would provide an additional bus direct to the hospital from the Park and Ride and would try to keep any building work as short as possible.

He said: “At the Royal Lancaster Infirmary we have also made the provision to reimburse staff if they make use of the city’s Park and Ride facility.”

The trust said it had also invested in improved bicycle secure parking facilities along with changing and shower facilities, and is also looking at how it can improve parking at Furness General Hospital in Barrow, including building another level of car parking.

Mr Cummins added: “Once again I do apologise and appreciate the difficulties that we may be causing through the inadequate car parking on our two main hospital sites.

“I will continue to remind staff to be more considerate of our neighbours and to be mindful that they should not park in such a way that might also delay the progress of emergency vehicles.”