Due to a petition of over 1000 signatures, patient and visitor parking will be free for up to four hours at Knutsford Community Hospital and the Congleton War Memorial Hospital. Plans to charge patients for even a short 20 minute stay have been shelved after the petition was presented by Gareth Wilson at a recent East Cheshire NHS Trust board meeting.
At the meeting Gareth addressed the board explaining the concern of local residents that the hospital is used frequently by sick and elderly residents for tests throughout the year - and charging patients would amount to a tax on being ill. After a long discussion the board agreed to extend the period of free parking to 4 hours, effectively making it free for all patients as the hospital is used for clinics, consultant appointments and diagnostic tests which will all be completed in this time period.
After the meeting Gareth said, "I am delighted that the Trust has listened to the clear public opposition to this proposal and have changed their plan to make parking effectively free for patients."
"I'd also like to take this opportunity to thank members of the public who supported this campaign and in particular our local Lib Dem members who gathered signatures in the wind and rain over the Christmas and January period. It goes to show that when well organised, effective local opposition can make a difference"
John Wilbraham, Chief Executive of East Cheshire NHS Trust, said “It is beneficial for the trust to be able to better manage its car parking facilities but there was genuine concern from the public about patients who travel every week to the sites facing charges. The Board accepted that a solution to this was needed.”
“Very few, if any members of the public would be on the hospital site for more than 4 hours when using the hospital services and so extending the length of time for free parking removes this concern and was in fact suggested by some of the responses received.
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