Royal Preston Hospital shift changes could ease traffic jams

Royal Preston Hospital
Royal Preston Hospital
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More than 1,000 health service workers could be asked to stagger their hours to relieve peak time congestion outside the Royal Preston Hospital.

A new 680-space multi-storey car park was this week given the go ahead to help reduce traffic problems at one of the county’s biggest health complexes.

But a hospital executive revealed to the city’s planning committee that other measures being considered in a wide-ranging masterplan to minimise jams include varying the working day for many staff with nine to five jobs.

“Over 1,000 staff could work differently,” said Carole Spencer, strategy and development director for the Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust. “They work nine to five, Monday to Friday. So there is a real opportunity for us to change that.”

Mrs Spencer said that spreading those 9-5 shifts over a wider period from 7am to 9pm could have a dramatic impact on congestion during the busiest periods. Other reforms being looked at include reducing the number of hospital visits for out-patients and encouraging more staff to use off-site park and ride services.

Residents, who say their lives have been blighted by cars left outside their homes during the day, insist the problem is unlikely to go away while the hospital continues to charge for parking - particularly for staff.

Suggestions to improve traffic flow outside the hospital include bus lay-bys on Sharoe Green Lane to avoid delays while passengers get on and off and a light-controlled pedestrian crossing outside the Booths store.

The new multi-storey, on the site of a current staff car park, will increase the number of on-site car spaces from 2,127 to 2,597, with an additional 555 off-site.

Conditions attached to planning permission include a review and upgrade of the traffic light junctions at the Black Bull junction and the Sharoe Green Lane/Watling Street Road intersection.