Medical staff working at Glasgow Royal Infirmary (GRI) are worried they will struggle to find parking after the regional health board cut hundreds of their allocated spaces.
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde has reintroduced car parking controls across all of the health board’s sites from Thursday.
The move means staff, patients and visitors at the GRI will have severely restricted access to the hospital’s multi-story car park on Castle Street.
It comes after NHSGGC was given funding to complete a £26.3m purchase of the former private finance initiative (PFI) from the Scottish Government in 2021.
A biomedical scientist at GRI, who wished to remain anonymous, told STV News: “This has massive repercussions not just for staff, but also for patients.
“The waiting time to be seen in A&E is often longer than four hours, which means that patients who are the most vulnerable and already in a terrible condition will have the added stress of getting parking tickets.
“It also means that hundreds and hundreds of staff who park there on a daily basis now have to fight for spaces in one floor.
“A lot of staff including myself work shifts. Sometimes we have to start at 7am, sometimes we have to work 12-hour shifts, which severely limits options for public transport.
“A lot of older, valuable experienced staff are considering retiring early so as not to deal with this problem, and a lot of bank staff (mainly nurses and other patient-facing roles) have voiced that they will not be taking on shifts at GRI due to this issue, which means that departments that are already short staffed will continue to suffer as a result.”
The changes mean that three levels of the multi-storey will be dedicated to patient and visitor parking.
Level five will be allocated to those with permits – for which many staff don’t meet the criteria – leaving just one level that is dedicated to staff parking.
A nurse at the GRI, who also wished to remain anonymous, said: “I feel it’s ridiculous that NHSGGC have decided to make our already hard jobs more stressful.
“We are now worrying about where we will park for our shift. We face the choice of paying £15-£20 to park for the week or risk our cars being vandalised in neighbouring streets, which will make our already long days even longer by making our commute longer.
“I plan to leave the health board and seek employment elsewhere.”
A spokesperson for NHSGGC said more than 45% of car parking allocation will be given to staff.
The spokesperson said: “There will also be allocated parking for patients and visitors as well as spaces for holders of blue badges. Since 2020, parking at the GRI has been free, which as well as resulting in the end of parking charges, allowed unrestricted access outside of peak traffic hours and this will not change.
“We recognise that some of our staff may have concerns around parking within, or near to, the GRI but we hope that the re-introduction of controlled car parking across a number of our sites, will address some of the peak, Monday to Friday challenges that parking at busy hospital sites create, and in doing so strike a balance between the needs of staff, patients and visitors.
“As the GRI is surrounded by arterial roads serving Glasgow city centre, space on the campus is limited to 1,373 available car parking spaces.
“Unfortunately, there is no opportunity to increase this provision, which means that car parking space allocation has to be properly managed to ensure that the hospital is accessible and to minimise potential hazards for both pedestrians and other vehicles.
“At the GRI, our local facilities team will be monitoring parking spaces usage to ensure that staff, patients and visitors alike have safe access to our services on the site.”