GPs at St Paul’s Medical Centre in Cheltenham are appealing to members of the public not to use their car park unless they are visiting for a medical appointment.
Congestion at the busy centre, which is home to four GP practices, has become so bad that at any given time, up to 50% of the available spaces are occupied by unauthorised off-site parkers working in local businesses or visiting the town centre.
This means that patients, staff and doctors, including clinicians who carry out home visits, are often unable to park, resulting in both patients and doctors being late for appointments.
There have also been serious issues with emergency vehicles being unable to get into the car park.
Dr Cameron Jackson, GP at The Royal Well Surgery, said:
“We are kindly asking people to be considerate of others and please stop parking at the centre unless they have a medical reason for their visit. Please park elsewhere for work purposes or shopping.
The car park at the centre is invaluable to all our patients, especially those with mobility issues or disabilities, as well as busy surgery staff who are carrying out vital medical care and support services for patients.
Sadly, some of us have also encountered aggression from people parking improperly, which is upsetting and stressful.
We absolutely want to provide the best possible care to our patients, and to continue to do this, as a last resort, we are having to introduce stricter measures about who can use the car park.”
The practices have already politely asked local businesses to request that their staff do not park on site, but the problem has continued.
The next step in bringing the situation under control is the introduction of a parking management system, which will come into effect from Monday 15 August 2022.
The system, which is non-profit making for the practices, is solely designed to solve the on-going parking problems.
It uses automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras to record all vehicles arriving at and departing from the car park.
Patients and other people using the health centre facilities who enter the car park will automatically be allowed to park free for 90 minutes.
If their vehicle is parked for longer than 90 minutes, they will be issued with a parking charge notice from a private company.
Any patients who legitimately need to park for longer than 90 minutes should speak to the reception team at their surgery to be issued with an exemption notice.
Staff will have “authorised user vehicle” status, giving them permission to park all day.
In the weeks leading up to the introduction of the new system, the practices will be taking steps to let people using the cark park know about the new system.
Warning notes will be placed on cars that are improperly parked and signs outlining the new enforcement regulations will be on display, both in the car park and inside the surgeries.
Please note that parking charge appeals cannot be dealt with by the GP surgeries or anyone else on site. However, a clear appeals procedure will be noted on any parking charge notice that may be issued.