HOSPITAL bosses in South Tyneside have admitted there are ‘teething problems’ with their new car parking system.
A ParkingEye, which uses automatic number plate recognition, was installed at South Tyneside District Hospital in South Shields on January 1.
However, the Gazette has received a number of calls saying that the new system is causing problems at the site.
A hospital worker, who did not wish to named, said: “In the mornings it’s been chaos.
“The cars have been backed up to the Harton Lane entrance.
“Staff can’t get parked – it’s taking up to 20 minutes for them to find a spot – and people have been running late for their work. It’s awful.”
The new system replaces a traditional car park pay meter, but the fees have not been increased.
It’s hoped it will help crack down on people parking illegally and inappropriately.
Helen Ray, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s chief operating officer, said: “The ParkingEye car parking system, which uses automatic number plate recognition, was introduced on the South Tyneside District Hospital site on January 1.
“We are experiencing some teething problems and have received some adverse comments from staff.
“However, we are monitoring the situation on a daily basis, with a view to resolving the concerns raised as quickly as possible.
“The new system was introduced to stop people parking illegally or inappropriately and, most importantly, to benefit patients and visitors, with more public parking closer to the main clinical facilities and more convenient ways to pay, whilst keeping parking charges the same.”
She added: “As part of the new parking scheme, we have also increased the number of spaces available for staff.
“Patients, visitors and staff can all rest assured that we will do everything we can to ensure that they get the best possible car parking service.”
How all-seeing eye works
THE new parking arrangement means every vehicle visiting South Tyneside District Hospital is captured on camera.
The ParkingEye system uses automatic number plate recognition system to record when vehicles enter and leave the hospital site.
Payment can still be made on arrival, but visitors can also pay before leaving the Harton Lane complex.
Anyone who stays longer than the period initially paid for will be able to “top up” their time.
There will be no increase in the present parking fees.
Payment details will be displayed on the signs in the car parks.
There are also plans to be able to pay by credit or debit card early next year.