A HOSPITAL visitor has hit out at the “nightmare” parking situation after struggling on a daily basis to find a space.
Joan Collingwood, 65, says there was not enough parking spaces at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, when she travelled from Hartlepool to visit a relative who was being treated there.
She said the problem was so bad that some of her relative’s friends were even forced to turn around and return home because it was so busy.
Mrs Collingwood, a retired school administrator from the Dyke House area of Hartlepool, made regular trips to the hospital during her relative’s recent stay and thinks the problem has been made worse since services were switched to Stockton from Hartlepool’s hospital.
She said: “There just weren’t enough car parking spaces at all.
“You have the clinics during the week and patients are in the same car park as the visitors.
“I ended up going round and round, there must have been at least 20 cars that couldn’t get spaces.
“You had to come back out again and wait for a space.
“It’s just a nightmare going from Hartlepool. Everyone goes at the same time.
“A couple of people went to visit my relation twice and couldn’t get a space, so they went back home.”
The hospital trust has apologised for any inconvenience and says it is in the process of creating more spaces following the recent transfer of the last emergency and critical care from Hartlepool hospital.
Peter Mitchell, associate director of estates and facilities at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Occasionally there are times when our car parks are busier than usual.
“People living in Hartlepool, Peterlee, Easington and Sedgefield are reminded that there is help available when travelling to hospital at either Hartlepool or Stockton.
“There are different types of support available to help people.
“We run a free shuttle bus service which runs regularly between our hospital sites and a volunteer driver scheme which has been set up to help people get to their appointments.
“We are also creating a further 75 parking spaces at the University Hospital of North Tees.”
To book a seat on the shuttle bus or the volunteer driver service call (01429) 522550 or go to www.nth.nhs.uk/transport