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Parking misery at GWH
Buy this photo » Gwen Poole missed her apointment at the Great Western Hospital GWH due to the traffic problems at the site this week
PATIENTS have missed appointments at the Great Western Hospital this week as the car parks have been full to capacity, causing lengthy tailbacks.
The sheer volume of traffic has led to queues of more than half-an-hour stretching back on to Marlborough Road and even the A419.
It has led to frustration as patients have been left waiting in their cars on their way to appointments or to visit relatives.
Work has started on a new car park for staff, which is hoped will ease the congestion but will not finish until later this month.
Gwen Poole, 81, of Wroughton, was due to see a dermatologist at 2.40pm on Tuesday but after missing her slot she had to turn around and head home.
The retired teacher said: “I left at 1.50pm and it normally takes me about 15 minutes so I should have had plenty of time to get to my appointment.
“I had to turn around and head home because I couldn’t even get in to tell them where I was.
“It’s incredibly frustrating because you are just sitting there and barely moving at all.
“It’s not too bad for me because mine was not an emergency but if anyone needed to get to the hospital in a hurry then there is no chance.
“They have a sign in the hospital saying how many missed appointments there have been but I wonder how many people haven’t been able to get in.”
There have been parking issues at the hospital for several years and Gwen said she often has problems finding a space.
She said: “I have a lot of trouble walking so I have a blue badge but so often all the disabled parking spaces are full because there are so few.
“If I am able to find another parking space it is often so far away I am exhausted by the time I get there.
“It is such a big hospital so these things should have been thought out when they built it.”
Another driver who missed an appointment on Wednesday said: “The traffic was going right back on to Marlborough Road and was just at a standstill.
“There were buses stuck in the traffic. Emergency vehicles would have struggled to get past.”
The GWH have introduced measures to ease the problems and believe the new car park will make a noticeable difference.
Roger Thomas, interim director of estates and facilities at Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “This week traffic into GWH has been very busy, and the demand for parking has been high.
“Unfortunately this has caused traffic to build up around the site, and we know that Tuesday afternoon, when a lot of our clinics take place, was particularly busy.
“We apologise for any delays to patients, visitors and staff caught up in the traffic.
“We have been putting extra parking attendants in place to manage traffic flow on to the site to try to minimise disruption.
“In September, following planning permission, work began to build more spaces.
“By creating additional parking spaces for staff it will reduce the number of staff having to park in the patient and visitor areas, and free up space for patients and visitors.”
“Work on the car park is approaching completion so patients are being asked where possible to find alternative means of getting to the hospital.
“The work is going well and the main contract is expected to finish at the end of October. It also includes better lighting, landscaping and signage.
“We are also going to make changes to the Brunel Treatment Centre car park at the rear of the hospital, and putting 45 patient and visitor spaces there, so we can provide more disabled parking in the west car park at the front of the hospital.
“Whilst this work is being carried out, there may be times when patients and visitors will find it difficult to park on site.
“We would encourage all patients and visitors to use public transport wherever possible, and allow plenty of extra time.”
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