A TICKETED parking system to monitor staff use of car parks is being considered by Orange Health Service in an effort to relieve parking problems plagueing the hospital precinct.
Orange Health Service general manager Catherine Nowlan said the health service is taking a pro-active approach to parking issues.
The service is currently getting costings to look at the introduction of a ticketed system to encourage staff to park away from the car parks on the Forest Road side of the hospital and park in alternative designated areas.
Council spokesman Nick Redmond said the traffic committee visited the site last week and is also considering a range of measures which might work on site.
“But any punitive action isn’t going to work,” he said.
Ms Nowlan said, in an effort to alleviate pressure on the car parks at the front or western side of the hospital, administration staff have been told not to use the car park and to park further round the back of the hospital in the Sun Lodge and E block parking areas.
“We are encouraging people to walk just a little further,” she said.
However when the CWD visited the hospital at 8.30am on Monday the entire car park facing Forest Road had only two spaces remaining.
Ms Nowlan said heads of departments have been told to advise staff to park away from the main areas close to the hospital and not to use the area near the ambulance bays which are for visiting specialists and surgeons only.
“We are also introducing more disabled car parks,” she said.
Ms Nowlan said a draft plan to introduce a ticketing system to monitor car park use by staff will involve the Pathfinders volunteers group to help in the management of the ticketed parking system with no charges involved.
“We are currently getting costings to see the viability of setting this up,” Ms Nowlan said.
The existing system of underground parking where on call staff can park cars and patient transport is located will remain unchanged.
Mr Redmond said the additional services and clinics now offered out of the large regional hospital have probably contributed to the pressure on car spaces which weren’t identified in 2007 when a plan for the hospital came before council’s planning committee.
“When the hospital was initially planned it had a price tag of $150 million and the finished hospital ended up being $280 million, so there’s no doubt there’s been some services creep involved,” he said.
Ms Nowlan said a system remains in place for security guards to escort staff finishing their shift at night to their vehicles parked at the eastern end of the building.
However last month Orange nursing association representative Katrina Lee said that often doesn’t happen as staff finishing a shift are reluctant to wait for a security guard to come to the eastern end of the hospital.
Ms Lee also said staff are arriving at work 45 minutes early to try and secure a car park.