Shoppers and rail commuters causing patients more stress by filling up Honiton Hospital parking spaces

PUBLISHED: 11:07 04 December 2018 | UPDATED: 09:13 06 December 2018

Friends chair Heather Penwarden at Honiton Hospital. Picture: Callum Lawton

Friends chair Heather Penwarden at Honiton Hospital. Picture: Callum Lawton

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Patients in Honiton have been saddled with greater time pressures to attend vital medical appointments due to hospital parking spaces being used by shoppers and rail commuters.

Motorists are ignoring signs and parking up at Honiton Hospital. Picture: Callum LawtonMotorists are ignoring signs and parking up at Honiton Hospital. Picture: Callum Lawton

Heather Penwarden, chair of Honiton Hospital League of Friends (LoF) believes around one dozen spots are being filled by people who have no need to attend the hospital.

This often leaves patients forced to circle the car park in the hope a space becomes free, or park a distance away from the hospital and walk to their appointments.

Heather said: “We are very much aware that many people use the hospital as a free car park when they are not using the facilities on the hospital site.

“We regularly see people park in the morning and head straight for the train station or into town only, to return at the end of the day. We estimate that if this practice were to cease then over a dozen spaces would be freed up for genuine users of the hospital and surgery.”

Friends committee member Stephen Craddock and Heather Penwarden at Honiton Hospital. Picture: Callum LawtonFriends committee member Stephen Craddock and Heather Penwarden at Honiton Hospital. Picture: Callum Lawton

The LoF, which relies heavily on donations and bequests, is urging only people using the hospital or surgery to make use of the car park.

Heather said their is a sign in the car park, but admitted it is small and may not be seen by many parking at the hospital.

However, while the LoF hasn’t ruled out committing its financial reserves to fund new signage or a more complex parking scheme, it said it hopes people could demonstrate ‘respect and care’ when considering where to park.

Heather added: “For those that take advantage of free car parking and head off elsewhere, please think about the anxious parents who are bringing their poorly child up to be seen in minor injuries, the people who attend regularly for renal dialysis or chemotherapy, the pregnant women attending antenatal clinics and all the hundreds of people who benefit on a daily basis from the care, support and often life-enhancing treatment provided from this site.

Motorists are also illegally parking on grass verges on Honiton Hospital grounds. Picture: Callum LawtonMotorists are also illegally parking on grass verges on Honiton Hospital grounds. Picture: Callum Lawton

“Just a little bit of respect and care about the needs of others can make all the difference.”

Parking pressures at the hospital have increased after cancer charity FORCE set up a chemotherapy unit there, which operates every Friday between 9.30am and 3.30pm.

Nurses from the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital’s Cherrybrook chemotherapy unit deliver the treatments.

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