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Hospital car parking: Princess Alexandra in Harlow to reinstate charges from start of December

Patients and visitors who drive to Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow will have to pay to park again from later this year.

The PAH NHS Trust, which runs the hospital, has announced that it will be reinstating car parking charges from December 1 – eight months after they were waived.

The free period of 20 minutes for dropping off and picking up will also be reinstated. Parking for Blue Badge holders will be free.

Charges at hospitals across the country were waived by the Government in April soon after the start of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The Government has now announced that funding to support hospitals to suspend charges is to stop.

The fees will remain the same: up to 20 minutes free, £2.90 for up to 4 hours, £4 for up to 6 hours and £6 for up to 24 hours.

Charges at the QEII Hospital in Welwyn Garden City, Lister Hospital in Stevenage and Hertford County Hospital – which are all run by East and North Herts NHS Trust – were reinstated on October 1.

At PAH, motorists will see improvements to parking allocation, with designated spaces in alternative locations. This work is being carried out ahead of the opening of the new adult assessment unit and fracture clinic in the next few months.

Patients and visitors can pay at the machines on site or, as before, pay online, via an app or over the phone up to 24 hours after their visit. To pay after their visit, they can download the paybyphone app, visit  www.paybyphone.co.uk  or call 0330 400 7275.

Parking for Blue Badge holders will be free. They should display the clock section of their badge in their vehicle window and present the photo section to one of the following, depending on the location they are visiting:

  • main reception
  • main reception of the fracture clinic
  • main reception of the Williams Day Unit
  • main reception of Gibberd Ward
  • main reception of the renal unit
  • emergency department (ED/A&E) reception

Out of hours (6pm-8am) patients and visitors should attend the emergency department (ED/A&E) reception to present the photo section of their Blue Badge.

If they are running late and do not have time to present the photo section of their Blue Badge at any of these locations in advance, they should speak to the staff at the ward or department they are visiting for advice when they arrive for their appointment.

PAHT provides a "large number" of bays near entrances for Blue Badge holders. Staff will be available at the car parks to support patients or visitors as required.

Exemptions will apply as before for patients or relatives regularly attending the Williams Day Unit, neonatal intensive care unit, Gibberd Ward or Labour Ward, and people who are eligible via the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS).

Ward staff will advise if patients or relatives are eligible for a concessionary parking permit and will help with completing the application form.

Michael Meredith, director of strategy and estates at PAH NHS Trust, said: “During the Covid-19 pandemic, as with all hospitals across the country, we received funding from the Government which supported us to enable car parking to be free of charge for all. As this Government funding has ceased, it is now necessary for us to reinstate car parking charges for our patients and visitors.

“We are committed to implementing measures to protect our patients and visitors, including the hand-washing and sanitising stations we have positioned at every entrance to the hospital.

“We would urge all patients and visitors to familiarise themselves with the car parking arrangements ahead of 1 December, if possible. Help and guidance will also be available on site from our dedicated car parking attendants, or from our teams at the ward or department you are visiting, if there are any questions once the car parking charges are reinstated. We appreciate the support of all of our patients and visitors.”

* PAH NHS Trust provides outpatient and diagnostic services at Herts and Essex Hospital in Bishop’s Stortford and St Margaret’s Hospital in Epping as well as a full range of general acute services at PAH in Harlow.

It employs around 3,500 staff and serves a population of about 350,000 people in West Essex and East Herts, centred on the M11 corridor and the towns of Harlow, Bishop’s Stortford and Epping. Its extended catchment area incorporates a population of up to 500,000 and includes Hoddesdon, Cheshunt and Broxbourne.

On October 2, Health Secretary Matt Hancock confirmed funding for a new Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow . The money was first pledged in October 2019

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