THERE were the chaotic scenes outside the Great Western Hospital yesterday afternoon.
Patients, visitors, staff and even ambulance drivers were caught up in the long traffic queues which stretched back as far as the A419 in one direction, and Coate Water in the other. Several motorists got in touch with the Adver to vent their frustration and express concern for those patients being brought in as an emergency.
Mum Rachel Bartlett, 26, of Park North, takes her five-year-old daughter Chloe to the GWH every Wednesday afternoon and pointed to the parking system as a point for concern. She said: “The new parking system has made it worse – every Wednesday we have to queue to get on to the hospital grounds. Today there was ambulances having to use the wrong side of the road just to get to the emergency department so it is going to cause an accident.”
Roger Thomas, interim director of estates and facilities management at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said the bad weather had caused an increase in cars going onto the hospital site, which caused problems with queuing traffic at busy times – usually early afternoons.
“We apologise for any inconvenience such delays may have caused to patients, visitors and staff or those caught up in traffic around the site,” he said.
“We have a number of parking attendants in place to manage traffic flow onto the site to try to minimise any disruption.
“Car parking on the site has always been limited due to the planning restrictions placed on the hospital when it was opened in 2002.
“We are in discussion with council planners to secure planning permission for more spaces – subject to funding – which we hope will reduce the problem in the medium term. In the meantime, and although we are seeking a short-term solution, we encourage all patients and visitors to use public transport wherever possible, and all patients using the car park to allow plenty of time ahead of their appointment.”