A new 'pay on exit' parking system at South Tyneside Hospital will be an improvement say health chiefs.
The changes to the patient and visitor car parking at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust are being put in place after health bosses listened to feedback.
From October 1, the new ‘pay on exit’ system will be introduced at South Tyneside District Hospital and at the trust’s Clarendon premises in Hebburn.
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.
Kiosks will be situated at Ingham Wing main entrance, maternity, outpatients and within the emergency department. Using the latest touch screen technology, patients and visitors will be given multiple payment options, including the ability to pay by coins and notes with change given, or to pay by card or contactless.
The new system being introduced at South Tyneside is in line with recommended NHS best practice, meaning patients and visitors will be able to pay for their parking when leaving the hospital site, as opposed to when they arrive.
By typing in their registration plate on one of the large touch screen kiosks, an accurate recording of how long a vehicle has been on site will automatically generate the parking fee required.
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.
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 Estates and Facilities at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust, Steve Jamieson, said: “We have recognised for some time that changes were needed to improve our 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.
“The new pay on exit kiosk system means we can offer 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.