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Health bosses putting new parking system in place at Sunderland hospitals

Sunderland Royal Hospital
Sunderland Royal Hospital
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A new 'pay on exit' parking system at Sunderland hospitals will be an improvement say health chiefs.

Changes to visitor car parking at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust are set to improve people’s experiences when visiting hospital after health bosses listened to feedback.

From October 1, 2018, a new ‘pay on exit’ system will be introduced at Sunderland Royal Hospital, Sunderland Eye Infirmary and at The Children’s Centre on Durham Road, making it much simpler for people to pay for their parking at the end of their visit.

Related: Parking charges net over £2million at Sunderland hospitals

The Trust has acted on feedback from patients and visitors who found the current payment system confusing. New signage around the car parks will make it much clearer to patients and visitors how to pay for their parking and, for the first time, payment machines will also be situated inside hospital buildings to protect people from bad weather when paying for parking.

The new ‘pay on exit’ kiosks will be situated near to all main entrances on the Sunderland Royal site, as well as at Sunderland Eye Infirmary and The Children’s Centre on Durham Road. Using the latest touch screen technology, patients and visitors will be given multiple payment options, including the ability to pay by coins and notes, or to pay by card or contactless.

The system uses automatic number plate technology which recognises when vehicles enter and later leave the trust’s car parks. It means people will only be charged for the time they have been parked and do not need to be concerned about their parking while they are in the hospital or whether they have paid enough.

Related: New parking rules to begin near hospital

The new charges will be: up to 20 minutes, free, up to 1 hour, £2, up to 2 hours, £3, up to 4 hours, £4.50 and up to 24 hours, £8.

Users can also get a weekly pass for £10.

Concessionary rates will continue to be available in certain circumstances, for example, people receiving long-term cancer treatment and the visitors of long-stay patients. Patients and visitors should speak to ward managers to ask about this.

Director of CHoICE Facilities Services at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust, Wayne Carr, said: “We have been working closely with the trust to improve the car parking payment system and hope these new upgraded kiosks will be welcomed by patients and visitors.

“Attending hospital for an appointment or to visit a loved one can be a stressful time and we want to make it easy and straightforward as possible. We know from feedback that people prefer to ‘pay on exit’ and have the option to pay by card and our new system will work on this basis.The introduction of contactless card technology is a big convenience factor too.

“Introducing the new ‘pay on exit’ kiosks means we have also been able to standardise our payment system, offering more choice and cost effective payment options."

Revenue generated from car parking payments is used to cover the costs of maintaining safe and secure parking facilities with any surpluses reinvested directly back into frontline patient care. The Trust does not receive any income from parking charge notices and it is hoped the new ‘pay on exit’ system will avoid unnecessary parking charge notices being issued.