A new car parking procedure for patients and visitors is to come into operation at Wansbeck General Hospital tomorrow morning.
Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s new system allows patients and visitors to pay on exit.
This means they are only charged for the time they have been parked and do not need to be concerned about their parking tickets expiring while they are in the hospital.
The change also gives more options to pay – with the machines taking coins and notes, as well as credit and debit cards.
Those using the car parks will take a ticket to raise the barrier to gain entry. They need to keep hold of it because it will be required at a pay station before they can leave.
Parking charges of £1.20 per hour, up to a maximum of £4 for a 24-hour period, are unchanged and the payment machines will show the amount to be paid.
There will be no charge for patients and visitors wishing to park for less than 20 minutes.
Steven Bannister, director of estates and facilities at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “We know that attending hospital, either for an appointment or visiting a loved one, can be a stressful time so we need to make parking as straight-forward and easy to use as possible.
“Patients and the public told us that they prefer systems where they can pay on exit and also that it was important to be able to pay by card, so the new system works on this basis.”
Blue (disabled) badge holders will continue to receive free parking. When parking outside of the barrier-controlled car parks – where the disabled bays are located – they will simply need to display a valid blue badge in the windscreen of their vehicle.
If they need to park inside the barrier-controlled car parks, they should take their parking entry ticket and valid blue badge into the ward/department they are visiting/attending to receive a ticket that allows them to exit free of charge.
Free parking will continue to be provided in a number of circumstances such as patients attending for cancer treatment, with eight dedicated car parking bays provided as part of the overall scheme, and the visitors of long-stay patients.
The new system at Wansbeck is the same as was implemented at North Tyneside General Hospital in February 2016.