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An 'unhealthy row' over parking
A HEALTH centre patient says it is “disgraceful” that two NHS bodies are “fighting each other” over a car park.
Marcham Road Health Centre in Abingdon has put up barriers to stop anyone but its patients using its 43-space car park.
The health centre shares a site with the Abingdon Community Hospital – which has a 114-space car park – and says hospital patients and staff are taking up health centre spaces which should be exclusively for its patients.
It has now put up an £8,000 barrier which means anyone can get in, but only health centre patients given a token by their doctor can get out again.
Anyone using the car park illegitimately will be fined £25.
Marcham Road patient Brian Leahy, who lives in Steventon, said: “Increasingly, it has been impossible to park there.”
But, he said: “It is disgraceful that the NHS should find themselves in the situation where two sides are fighting each other.
“The hospital is growing in size, but the nurses and doctors take up a large number of spaces, and cars are parking on grass verges. Cars park absolutely anywhere. It is a complete mess.
“I deeply love the NHS and can remember when it was brought in, but things like this expose the stupidity that crops up.
“We heard that during the floods they were unable to deliver supplies to both, but they can spend thousands installing this silly barrier.”
The health centre, which has just over 43 parking bays, said it was protecting spaces provided specifically for practice patients. The hospital has 114 parking spaces.
Dr Michael Robertson from the health centre said: “The health centre has 43 spaces and the hospital have many more, just not enough. Once all the staff have arrived, it is pretty much full. I think they need to find some off-site staff parking.
“One space occupied for eight hours during the working day prevents at least 20 patients from using that space to park while they visit our surgery.
“We could see no other way of protecting our patients’ interests.”
The health centre said it will ensure the car park is clearly signposted indicating it is solely for the use of those with legitimate business at the health centre.
Dr Robertson said that in extreme cases, people visiting the hospital in emergencies would be allowed to use the health centre car park.
He said: “If someone rushes in with their child with a broken leg, we won’t be charging them.”
Oxford Health, the trust which runs Abingdon Community Hospital, did not comment.
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