N&N parking chaos causes missed appointments

Dan GrimmerThe Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has come under fire after patients were forced to miss vital appointments because they were unable to park.Dan Grimmer

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has come under fire after patients were forced to miss vital appointments because they were unable to park.

Security guards had to divert patients and visitors to staff parking areas, lay bys and double yellow lined areas when the main car parks became full on Wednesday .

But even these were overflowing by lunchtime so people were told they had to wait until a space was freed up - resulting in some missing scheduled appointment times.

N&N car parks are constantly busy and are used by about two million vehicles are year, but there is no planning permission to increase the 854 spaces allocated to the public.

One man, who did not want to be named, said his friend missed a 'very important' appointment and called the scene 'chaotic'.

'It is a total joke that you have a booked appointment and you can't attend because you can't park,' he said. 'My friend ended up going home and had to re-schedule his appointment.

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'There were people queuing up waiting to park and waiting on verges. The fact is there are obviously not enough car park spaces for the people who need them. This needs to be sorted out as a priority.'

Hospital officials admitted the hospital was very busy, with car parks often overflowing. There are 25pc more outpatients at the N&N than there were when the car park was built almost 10 years ago but the number of spaces has not changed.

There are more than 2,100 outpatient appointments and nearly 1,000 visitors a day so a people are told they can never be guaranteed a parking space.

A hospital spokeswoman said: 'Our car parks are often very busy. We have the maximum number of spaces allowed under the planning regulations so increasing the amount of parking is not possible.

'Instead we have concentrated on working with the local bus companies and the local authority to provide a good deal on park and ride, and we have a comprehensive bus service to the site.

'We advise patients about the parking options, including park and ride, in the letters sent to patients attending outpatient appointments.'

The hospital has been particularly busy since the start of the year with cases of the winter vomiting bug, the norovirus, as well as seasonal illness, contributing to a rising number of patients.

As reported in the Evening News, wards have been so busy that staff were forced to put patients in treatment rooms as beds ran out.

This problem has since been rectified with the treatment rooms being transformed into proper patient rooms on the edge of each ward.

Do you have a health story for the Evening News? Call Sarah Hall on 01603 772426 or email sarah.hall2@archant.co.uk

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