Derry City and Strabane District Council is to write to the Western Trust to highlight its concerns at a proposal to reduce the number of disabled parking spaces at Altnagelvin Hospital.
The Derry News revealed last month that the Trust plans to convert almost a third of its previously free disabled parking bays at the local hospital into pay and display spaces.
The Trust said the changes will affect 13 disabled spaces at South Wing and 16 at the Main Out Patients Entrance.
The Trust said it will retain 60 free disabled car parking spaces on the site.
The matter was raised today at a meeting of the council's Health and Community committee in the Guildhall.
Committee chair, Ulster Unionist councillor Andrew McKane, said he had been contacted by someone who was concerned about the proposal to reduce the number of disabled parking spaces.
A number of other councillors at the meeting also highlighted their concerns at the plans.
The members of the committee agreed to a proposal to write to the Western Trust to ask for more information about their proposal in relation to parking spaces at Altnagelvin Hospital.
Speaking last month, a Western Trust spokesperson said: “Over the past number of weeks, as part of resetting our services, the Trust has recommenced a number of capital works schemes which were suspended in March 2020, including enabling works for car parking projects.
“The car parking works on the Altnagelvin site are aimed at increasing capacity and improving utilisation of all spaces on the site which is really important in terms of meeting the demand for parking on the site.
“These works include changes to enable allocation of free spaces for staff in the Multi-storey and Cancer Centre Car parks, increase in drop off/pick up spaces at South Wing Main Entrance as well as re-designation of spaces at hospital entrances will help ensure that these spaces are available for those who attend the site for appointments or to visit for short periods of time.
“This will help ensure turnover of these spaces and that they are available for our patients and visitors.”
Asked when this will come into effect and why was it deemed necessary, the spokesperson added: “This has not yet come into effect but it is likely to be implemented in line with the Trust’s timeline for reinstating paid parking on the site.
“The Trust is implementing these changes to help ensure these disabled spaces are available right up at hospital entrances for patients and visitors.
“The Trust has been monitoring the use of these spaces and it would appear these spaces are parked in all day by staff and this provision is now being relocated to the Multi-Storey and Cancer Centre car parks where the disabled spaces are currently under-utilised.
“The Trust does have in place a number of provisions to support our patients and visitors in terms of parking – this includes free parking for those on benefits or low income and for those who are attending the hospital site very frequently and/or for lengthy periods of time.
“All of this information is available from our Support Services Team in the hospital.”
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