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"Insufficient Emergency Department disability parking"

About: Ipswich Hospital / Emergency Department

(as a parent/guardian),

My daughter in law recently needed to be taken to the Emergency Department. I drove her there, and we also brought her newborn to the hospital in the event that my daughter in law was admitted to the hospital. My daughter in law was given a high triage score and was seen with urgency.

There is only 1 allocated disability parking space in the Emergency Department car park.

That 1 parking spot was taken which left no where to park. Given the urgency of the situation I parked where I could. I have advanced Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. A disability parking permit is displayed at all times on the windscreen.

I was fined by the QLD police for not moving my car from where it was parked in the patient drop off point.

It was not possible to leave my grandchild with their mother due to the volume of medical testing.

I continuously checked the parking every 20 - 30 mins in the hope I could move the car however it was not until much later in the night, after I had been fined that I could move the car to the 1 disability parking space.

This was only achievable with the assistance of the security guard who ensured the space remained available due to the time it took to put the baby back in the car, load the pram etc.

The positioning of where the ED is makes it extremely difficult to access for someone with restrictive ability. While I would have no issue with parking (which is free for a DP permit holder) on the street or even in the paid car park (which I always use), I cannot manage the steep incline back up to the main road from the ED or the distance from the road behind the ED. Access is not available to the main hospital from the ED, however if there was this would allow easier access to the paid car park. Given I did not leave the ED until the early hours of the morning, I would not have been able to utilise the main hospital as an exit point anyway due to the time.

I would not be the only person who would experience this problem with disability parking.

I don't intentionally go out of my way to break the rules but I am at a loss as to what I was expected to do. We could have used an ambulance but we didn't want to impact on a service already stretched to the limits when I was available to drive.

My son was at home caring for my young grandchild who had already been finding it difficult coping without their mother after she had given birth, hence why I had driven my daughter in law.

Serious consideration needs to be given to the parking situation in the ED because this isn't the first time I have encountered problems.

I now am required to pay a fine due to the lack of sufficient disabled parking.

Responses

Response from Sandy Lewis, Senior Consumer Liaison Officer, Clinical Governance, Queensland Health - West Moreton

Dear lack of access

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. Your feedback is greatly appreciated as it assists West Moreton to improve our services.

We certainly hear your concerns, and appreciate that you needed easy access to the Emergency Department (ED), however, the area adjacent to the ED entrance is reserved for drop off and emergency vehicles (Queensland Ambulance Service and Queensland Police Service). It is not designed for public parking even though there is a single disabled bay.

Your feedback has highlighted the need for clear signage outside of the ED so that patients and their families are informed of the parking regulations, as well as the disability options available.

While we hope that you don’t need to come to hospital under similar circumstances again, if walking up/down the hill is not possible, you can request an escort from one of the volunteers at the front counter of the Chelmsford Street entrance. They can then take you via the Ward Block lifts and across to the ED. After hours, security can provide a similar service, however; it is subject to security being availability.

If we can be of further assistance, you are more than welcome to contact the Consumer Liaison Service on 0409 275 503.

Best wishes

Consumer Liaison Service

West Moreton Hospital and Health Service

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