Nurses say badly lit car parks put them in danger

Hospital bosses have been accused of putting nurses in danger in badly-lit car parks after dark.
Nurses have complained at the lack of lighting in the Staff Car Park H at Royal Preston HospitalNurses have complained at the lack of lighting in the Staff Car Park H at Royal Preston Hospital
Nurses have complained at the lack of lighting in the Staff Car Park H at Royal Preston Hospital

And a senior sister has claimed over-zealous parking wardens at the Royal Preston Hospital have been slapping tickets on staff cars left in safer areas.

“It’s a dangerous place for staff, especially at night,” said the nurse who asked not to be named.

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“Taking into account that nurses have been attacked – and indeed killed in other hospital grounds – it’s frightening.”

The revelations come as a new 680-place multi-storey car park for staff remains on the drawing board nine months after it was given the 
go-ahead by the city council.

Parking has become a major issue at the ever-expanding RPH – now one of the county’s largest hospitals and a key regional trauma centre.

Another nurse told the Evening Post: “Sometimes there are no spaces when we arrive for work. But if you try to park in areas meant for visitors you get fined. Some of the staff car parks are unlit late at night. It’s scary, I just run to my car and jump in.”

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The Preston sister told the Evening Post: “On most occasions staff struggle to find parking spaces near to their area of work and sometimes can be waiting around or driving around looking for spaces.

“The permits we are issued have an expiry date and if the permit expires and they are not immediately renewed, parking fines are issued. We are, however, still charged for these expired permits.”

The sister claimed one nurse fell because of the poor surface conditions of some car parks.

“Some are full of potholes and puddles,” she said. “One makeshift area at the back of car park H is basically unsafe. The ground is uneven, covered in large stones and potholes and has no lighting.

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“One of the nurses fell over because of these conditions. It is not safe.”

Another nurse said: “When one of us complained one day there were no vacant staff spaces available she was told by one of the car park men that she should go to Preston Grasshoppers a mile away and get the park and ride shuttle bus.”

Paul Holt, divisional director of estates and facilities at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said the hospital had now resolved the issues with fines.

He said: “We have to manage our car parks, which everyone knows are exceptionally busy, to make sure the hospital sites are safe and accessible for everyone.

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“Enforcement charge notices are issued to any car that is parked in a way that infringes our parking terms and conditions – usually this relates to parking in a manner that would cause an obstruction.

“Historically enforcement notices have also been issued to cars parked in staff car parks that aren’t displaying a valid permit.

“However we have recently reviewed this practice.

“Our intention is to ensure the car parks are safe for everyone and are well managed, and certainly not to penalise our hard working staff, so we will be waiving all enforcement notices that have been issued in these circumstances.

“We work hard to maintain all of our car parks which are generally in good repair, but will make any necessary improvements where problems are identified.”

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