Parking woes plague staff

FRUSTRATED: Hospital staff say the battle to find a parking space is getting harder, with one member saying she drove around for an hour searching for a spot.STAFF members at John Hunter Hospital say they are no longer guaranteed a parking spot on site, despite having parking fees deducted from their wages.
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Hospital staff say they are becoming “increasingly frustrated” that the number of people versus the number of available car spaces had gone “beyond parity,” renewing calls for Hunter New England Health to reinstate the park and ride shuttle service.

One staff member, who spoke to the Newcastle Herald on condition of anonymity, said she drove around for an hour looking for a car space before a shift.

“I normally swipe into the staff car park, but it was chock-a-block full. So I tried another one, and I had no luck there either, so then I went to the multi-storey car park there,” she said.

The parking attendant saidshe would have to pay the full day parking rate, despite already having a parking fee deducted from her wage each week.

“The other option was to park along Lookout Road, or up near the water tower, but by that stage, all of those parks were taken too.

“After an hour, it crossed my mind to actually just go home. It’s not good.”

Sonia Hornery,member for Wallsend, said she receivescalls from hospital staff about “inadequate” staff parking “almost weekly.”

An email from hospital management to a staff member in September confirmed they were no longer guaranteed a spot, and would becharged twice if they parked in the public spaces.

Ms Hornery is calling for Hunter New England Health to re-instate the shuttle bus service.

“Staff are under enough stress without thefrustration of having to circle around the number of staff car parks trying to find a spot,” she said. “The added insult of being charged twice to park in the public car park is a disgrace.

“When the shuttle bus from Hunter Stadium was operating, staff parking was never an issue. It was a stress-free option.”

Brett Evans, manager of capital works for the hospital, said parkingfees for staff at John Hunter Hospital varieddepending on their salary, but ranged from$7.40 to $17.49 per week.

He said there were2150 staff carparkingspaces at John Hunter Hospital, and there were no plans to reinstate the shuttle service.

“Staff who pay forparkingon the hospital campus but are unable to find a park should present to the carparkingattendant’s office. The attendant can assist with finding a park in designated staffparkingor elsewhere onthe campus,” he said.

“Parkingfees will be refunded via the employee’s salary in circumstances where they cannot find a park in a designated area and are required to park elsewhere under the advice of the attendant.”

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