Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Canberra Hospital Car Parking - Shuttle Bus part of the solution

Over the next 10 years the Canberra Hospital campus will be a building site as health services are upgraded and buildings refurbished.  The building work has begun with fences obstructing paths and roads.  Car parking will be difficult over the coming 12 months as the large multi-storey car park is being constructed.

Information is the key to a successful transition period so that TCH campus and building site does not turn into parking chaos for consumers and carers.

The large multi-storey car park was closed last Friday (27 November) and consumers are now required to park in the large open car park adjacent to Hindmarsh Drive.

ACT Health has published a brochure outlining the car parking arrangements.  This is sent to consumers with admission papers and for appointments for outpatients.  This brochure is available on the ACT Health website.

The brochure contains a useful map to show consumers, carers and visitors to TCH where they can park.  This needs to be enlarged and made obvious at various sites around TCH campus.  Currently, oreintation signage is limited.

There are key messages that our community need to know:
Access to TCH will be difficult particularly over the coming 12 months while the car park is being built.  During this time consumers may consider asking a friend or family member to drop them off and pick them up, or using Action buses.
The car parking that is closest to the hospital is limited to 2 hours only.  

We understand that ACT Health has been considering a shuttle bus.  The time is right to introduce this service now to offset the confusion and inconvenience for consumers, and carers. 

A Shuttle bus would overcome many of the issues.  It could operate on a circuit around the hospital grounds for pick ups and drops offs.  It could also operate from Woden Town Centre and the Bus Interchange.
This would pick up and set down passengers every 15 minutes. 

The shuttle bus would benefit a range of uses including; mothers and prams, seniors without disability stickers, visitors and consumers who come to the hospital with a range of needs and physical abilities.  The bus would also improve physical comfort; we don’t want seriously sick consumers their friends and family members struggling to walk from one end of TCH campus in 35 degree temperatures to their cars.

There also needs to be consideration of a transitional lounge where consumers which have been discharged can wait in comfort while their carer, relative or friend collects the car.

It is important that consumers have the support and care of their family and friends while they are in hospital.  Involvement of family and friends is a critical aspect of quality care.  Good signage and information about car parking is an important aspect of this and should not be trivialised.

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