Posted on behalf of Mark Power, Director of Organisational Development and Workforce, OUH NHS Foundation Trust
A good deal of activity has been undertaken over the last few months to implement improvements through a new Transport and Travel Policy. Understandably, much attention is focused on processing the many parking permit applications being received and in establishing better parking management. However, a number of initiatives and incentives are also being pursued in order to bring about lasting change and significantly better travel provision for staff, patients and visitors.
Our aim remains to reduce the overall number of cars coming on to our sites and to make best use of our limited parking provision. We also wish to provide assistance to our staff who do not qualify for a parking permit and/or who use public transport or other means to travel to and from work.
The consultation period for the new Transport and Travel Policy has now ended and the many comments received are all being considered. Thank you to everyone who participated in the consultation - we really have appreciated your interest, comments and suggestions, all of which have been most helpful.
Many people commented on the different charges associated with the purchase of permits for our NOC and Horton sites, compared with our John Radcliffe and Churchill sites. Ideally, we need to harmonise our charges, such that they are consistent. Therefore, a revised new pricing structure (yet to be determined) will be proposed as part of the new Policy approval process.
Amendments to the Policy will now be drafted for the approval of the Trust Alliance Committee, Workforce Committee, and Trust Management Executive.
Parking Permit Applications
The Transport and Travel Team is currently processing a large volume of parking permit applications and responding to many email queries each day. All applications received are being processed in date order, and all queries are being responded to. Your continued patience during this process is very much appreciated.
If you are eligible to receive a parking permit, but do not currently display one in your vehicle, then please ensure you apply without delay. From 5 September Breach of Contract Notices (BCNs/ parking tickets) will be issued to all vehicles that are parked illegally (i.e. in no parking zones and/or where they are causing an obstruction). If you already hold a permit, then please renew it in the normal way one month before the annual expiry date.
Please continue to submit paper application forms until further notice. The online permit application software is currently being tested and is expected to be fully operational early in the autumn. This will provide a much more convenient means by which to apply for a new permit, or renew an existing one, and significantly improve turnaround times.
Out of Hours Only Permits
Out of hours only permits are free, valid for one year and have been introduced in preparation for the implementation of Automatic Number Plate Recognition equipment (see below). You should apply for an out of hours only permit if you wish to just park on site overnight (between 6pm and 8am) and/or at weekends. There are no exclusion zones associated with these permits. If you already hold a full staff parking permit you do not need to apply for an out of hours only permit, as your permit entitles you to park at any time of the day.
All applications for out of hours only permits will be processed after the current volume of applications for new and renewal full permits is cleared.
It has been brought to our attention that information is being circulated on social media advising staff and the public to ignore BCNs. The information suggests that drivers cannot be taken to court over notices issued on Hospital sites. This is incorrect and you should not ignore a BCN if you receive one.
Should you feel that your BCN is unwarranted then you may appeal via our well-established process. Therefore, please ensure you respond within 14 days of it being issued, by following the instructions on the BCN paperwork.
We have also received many comments that the issuing of BCNs is simply a revenue-generating exercise for the Trust. This is incorrect, as there is a cost associated with the administration of Notices. The overwhelming view of staff is that we must continue to take measures to ensure that there is a strong deterrent to parking illegally and inconsiderately on our sites. BCNs will only be issued when there is full justification to do so.
If you are not eligible to receive a permit, please do not be tempted to drive in and park in our designated patient car parks. This is unfair towards patients and colleagues and, from 5 September, anyone doing so without a valid reason is likely to receive a BCN.
Please remember that the Trust has a zero tolerance policy towards harassment and abuse, so please remember to treat any members of the Travel and Transport Team (including our staff who work in the car park offices), and enforcement officials, with due respect.
The business case supporting the implementation of Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) equipment is being finalised. If supported, we expect to install ANPR cameras at our John Radcliffe, Churchill and Horton sites in the New Year. Implementation of ANPR at our NOC site will be negotiated separately (due to contractual considerations associated with the site’s private finance initiative arrangements).
Bus Routes - Good News
Many people will be aware that a number of bus routes in Oxfordshire have either been withdrawn or reduced this year. In April the Trust was informed that the 700 (from Thornhill) and the 900 (from Water Eaton) bus services would no longer come to the Churchill site from September onwards.
After several months of negotiations between Stagecoach and the Transport and Travel Team, and with support funding by the Trust and the University of Oxford, we have successfully retained these services to the Churchill site and also maintained their frequency. The new routes servicing the Churchill site will also be shorter, and therefore quicker. Details will be posted online shortly.
Many thanks to members of the Travel and Transport Team, who have worked very hard in submitting a considerable body of evidence and argument, which has ensured the continuation of these essential bus services.
Park and Pedal
Together with our two University partners we remain in discussion with the County Council regarding the provision of lockable cycle storage for staff at the Park and Ride sites. This is an important initiative, which has been asked for by many members of staff, and we are optimistic that agreement will be reached very soon.
We intend to provide new cycle storage and better changing facilities at all sites and work is being undertaken in support of funding these improvements. More details will be provided in the near future.
The Transport and Travel Team has produced a comprehensive set of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), which is available here.
Finally - Thank You
Again, a personal thank you to everyone who contributed to our recent Policy consultation. Even though this particular process has concluded, the Travel and Transport Team is always happy to receive comments and suggestions on how we can continue to work together to make sustainable improvements for everyone.
Please direct all responses to the Team in the first instance.