The South Eastern Health Trust has insisted that it has implemented a number of measures in a bid to alleviate parking problems at Lagan Valley Hospital.
The trust was responding to complaints of “parking chaos” at the Lisburn hospital which, it has been claimed, has caused a number of patients to miss appointments.
One disgruntled hospital user claimed the parking situation is “just horrendous”.
Speaking out after witnessing two drivers “almost come to blows” in a row over a space, she said: “They have taken away nearly all the parking at the back of the hospital and there are very few spaces at the front of the hospital. The poor staff who are manning the car park are taking dogs’ abuse from people – I feel really sorry for them.”
The woman, who didn’t want to be named, said the “parking chaos” is causing people to be late for appointments, or even miss them.
“I know there is building work going on, but there’s just not enough parking, particularly for elderly and disabled people who need to park close to the building,” she added.
Responding to the patient’s concerns, a trust spokesperson said car parking provision has been impacted by work on the development of Lisburn’s new primary and community care centre at the Hillsborough Road site.
“The trust apologises for the inconvenience caused by ongoing construction works,” she said.
“We recognise the difficulties faced by patients, visitors and staff trying to park on the Lagan Valley Hospital site during this unavoidable disruption and have taken a number of steps to try to reduce congestion as far as possible.”
The spokesperson said patient and visitor parking provision at the front of the hospital was increased by 88 new spaces in anticipation of the development works, which are expected to last for “a couple of years”.
She revealed that the trust has secured free parking for staff at the nearby LeisurePlex for the duration of the build programme, and said employees and members of the public are being urged to use public transport to get to and from the hospital if possible.
The spokesperson said patients attending for appointments should “leave extra time for their journey.”
Revealing that car parking controls are due to be in place at Lagan Valley by Spring 2019, she added: “These barriers and control systems will greatly improve access to our health care facilities and preserve access to those who visit our site by car. In the meantime the trust would appeal to patients and staff to abide by road markings and give consideration to other motorists.”
The trust says part of the development work at the site will include the provision of a multi-storey car park.