Details have emerged of plans to transform the site of the former Samuel Johnson Memorial Hospital into a NHS Park & Ride facility. The future of the site has been uncertain since the announcement of the closure of the hospital’s Minor Injuries Unit earlier this month. A spokesman for Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust commented:
‘With NHS hospitals in England collecting over £120m last year from hospital car parking charges it makes sense to look closely at this potentially lucrative use for the now defunct Lichfield site.’
A confidential report by the Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Sustainability and Transformation committee highlighted the potential revenue stream that could be achieved by converting the hospital building into a multi-story car park for premium rate secure parking along side the existing 174 parking spaces.’
Burton Hospitals Trust continued:
‘With the closure of Samuel Johnson and the A&E department at Queen’s Hospital Burton the new parking facility will enable sick and injured Lichfield residents to drive themselves to the Park & Ride and take a regular Arriva bus service to the nearest available A&E department, currently the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle upon Tyne.’
Paul Mycock, head of Lichfield Patients Association, is outraged. He said:
‘I’m outraged. The charges are expected to be £95 per person per day for the secure car park with return ticket to Newcastle. With a journey time of almost four hours many critically ill patients and trauma victims are unlikely to survive the journey despite having pre-paid for their return trip.’
Dr Anton Declan, spokesman for Newcastle Hospitals Foundation Trust said:
‘We are delighted to confirm that we are a stakeholder in this innovative P&R2A&E scheme. The welfare of paying patients is paramount, each bus will be boarded immediately on arrival by a qualified veterinary nurse who will assess all passengers. Those who appear to be still alive will be admitted for urgent attention to our A&E department.
‘For those unfortunate service users who have not survived the journey our new joint venture partners at Newcastle Co-operative Funeral Service will be on hand to take delivery.’
Lichfield Round Table has been approached for comment.