Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has today announced the first phase of its future transport plan, which will change how more than 6000 staff travel to work; both in the short and long term.

“It’s no secret that our sites are difficult to park at. Something which often causes significant disruption both to the trust, our patients and the local community,” said Julie Maskery, chief operating officer at Hampshire Hospitals.

“The difficulty is that as the number of patients accessing our services grows – as it has by 10 per cent this year alone – we have to increase staff to meet it. Given the location of and geography around our sites, there are no easy solutions and we simply cannot just build more spaces to meet demand.

“Instead we have to think differently.”

Part of this new thinking arises out of the challenge of climate change and the trust’s passionate commitment to become more sustainable in future.

“In the long term we would like to see the vast majority of our staff and patients travel to our sites by a means other than a personal vehicle,” Julie added.

“Not only would this improve access to our facilities overall but it would significantly reduce our carbon footprint; something that we – like everyone else – simply have to do for the future of the planet.

“In the short term, this isn’t possible, but we can start to lay the groundwork for it. Our immediate priority is to ease congestion on site and improve the experience for our staff getting to work.”

The plan calls for the expansion of park and ride schemes across the trust’s three sites (Andover War Memorial Hospital, Basingstoke and North Hampshire Hospital and Royal Hampshire County Hospital, in Winchester), further promotion of cycle to work schemes, IT investment to support working from home where appropriate, extra support to facilitate staff car sharing and offering more minibus transfers for staff who need to move between locations.

In order to support these investments it also includes the introduction of charging for staff to park on site in line with all other NHS trusts in the region.

“The decision to introduce charges for staff parking on site is one which we have taken as a last resort and only following extensive engagement on the issue,” concluded Julie.

“The money generated will be strictly ring-fenced to support parking services and will be progressively managed so that staff on higher incomes pay proportionately more than those on lower ones. Equally, we are fully committed to maintain a free way for staff who travel to work by car to park through an expansion of our park and ride schemes.

“We very much hope that these changes both set us on the road to a greener future and significantly improve the experience staff have when travelling to and from our sites.”