NEWS that the State Government was considering all options to increase parking at Bathurst Base Hospital has certainly got people talking.
Visitors to the hospital have regularly complained of difficulty finding a spot, and it has only become worse over the years.
The issue of timed parking has also been a bugbear for hospital visitors, particularly parents who do not wish to leave their child’s bedside to move the car.
Hospital staff have not been immune, complaining that they are forced to park several hundred metres from their workplace and then walk back to their car in the dark to avoid picking up a fine.
Incredibly, though, parking has never been the most pressing problem with this hospital.
When the previous state government completed a $100 million upgrade of the hospital, the new facility was plagued with problems from the time it opened its doors.
The litany of problems included serious communications failures, including an inadequate emergency alarm system; ICU and accident and emergency cubicles that were too small for staff to work in effectively; an operating theatre that was too small to be used; and an overflow of raw sewage that resulted in the evacuation of maternity, ICU and surgical wards, as well as causing damage to the ceilings of lower floors.
With such a shopping list of problems to address – described by then opposition leader Barry O’Farrell as “genuine incompetence” – the small matter of an underground car park that could not be navigated by ambulances and a lack of on-site parking spots in general was naturally pushed to the side.
Hopefully, that won’t be the case much longer.
The other issues have been addressed and remedied and that has left just parking to be fixed.
When Bathurst MP Paul Toole visited the hospital on Wednesday he was not there to announce work on a new car park but it’s not hard to read between the lines.
We can’t imagine the local member and hospital general manager would be wanting to smile and wave for the cameras on vacant land running beside the hospital unless there was a real chance action was coming.
And while extras spots along the Durham Street side of the hospital won’t solve all the parking problems, every little bit helps.
We can’t wait to see it happen.