As residents will be aware, I welcomed the final abolition of parking charges at Ninewells Hospital, having campaigned against them for many years.
The charges have acted as a tax on ill-health - as Ninewells is a hospital serving a large region and for many patients and visitors, particularly from outwith Dundee, public transport options to Ninewells are often limited or non-existent.
Additionally, however, the charges have resulted in many vehicles parked on adjacent residential streets.
Scottish Government made a promise to abolish all hospital parking charges back in 2007. It may have come 14 years late, but the decision to not reimpose charges after their initially temporary suspension due to the COVID health emergency, is welcome.
I did raise a number of questions with the Head of Soft Facilities at NHS Tayside as follows :
1. That there will still be an enforcement presence within the hospital grounds/car parks?
2. How NHS Tayside will try to ensure no further spillage of vehicles onto adjacent streets?
3. Question 2 above really arises from staff member concerns about what they perceive to be inadequate staff spaces. Can you give reassurance on capacity for NHS Tayside staff at Ninewells going forward?
He has since responded as follows :
"I can confirm that there is a parking control system in place which has been enhanced over the years in conjunction with staff-side colleagues and external partners to support effective management of our car parks. Furthermore, we are now arranging a further review that will ensure that the free parking regime continues to operate efficiently and effectively for maximum benefit for all patients, visitors and staff.
At Ninewells we have 2383 car parking spaces on site and we are regularly at full capacity during peak periods. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how people travel and it is also predicted that with the permanent removal of charges, car parking at Ninewells could become more challenging. I would like to give you reassurance we are taking all reasonable steps to manage parking within the Ninewells campus.
The vast majority of spaces are available for NHS staff, however we have recently reintroduced dedicated short stay car parks for patients and visitors to help ensure turnover of cars so that spaces are available throughout the day. The initial feedback has been very positive and we will continue to monitor to ensure that parking continues to be managed efficiently and effectively to benefit patients, visitors and staff.
NHS Tayside will continue to engage with local authority, other NHS Boards, travel planning and public transport organisations to ensure that best solutions are adopted wherever possible to support access to hospital facilities.
I hope the above provides you with assurance that there are plans in place to effectively manage parking on the Ninewells site."
I will, of course, continue to keep a close eye on this and resopnd to any residents' concerns around the Ninewells parking issue.