This was a helpful meeting with the Chairman of the Trust and an opportunity to discuss issues that are regularly raised in my post bag, such as parking and patient transport, as well as important clinical issues, like the availability of blockbusting therapy for those that have suffered from strokes and how the Trust feel about changes to the White Paper.
Parking charges at the Hospital raise between £500,000 and £600,000 a year, but for patients for whom these charges are causing difficulty, this can always be raised with the Ward Sister, who can if necessary arrange for a temporary parking permit to be issued. There are also special arrangements for those who need to attend repeatedly, such as patients with cancer or other serious long term conditions requiring frequent attendance at the Hospital. Parking is always under pressure and it appears that prior to having parking charges, the Hospital was frequently used a free 'Park and Ride' service which was in nobody's best interest. The Hospital aimed to keep their parking fees below those of other local council car parks. Clearly, if parking charges were completely waived, around half a million pounds would completely disappear from the Hospital budget. This will always be a thorny issue. I would be grateful for your thoughts.
Another area I raised with Peter Hildrew was the issue of Torbay Hospital's mobile phone policy. There is no evidence that mobile phones are a risk to patients; they may however be a nuisance. The current arrangements with patients having to pay very high charges to use the bedside phones are in my view completely unacceptable. Derriford Hospital have now lifted their mobile phone ban. Again, what do you think?