A POSSIBLE solution to the ongoing problem of parking at Glangwili Hospital could be one step closer following a question to Hywel Dda University Health Board by Delyth Evans, Labour’s Parliamentary Candidate for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire. Ms Evans is urging the Hywel Dda Health Board to set up a park-and-ride scheme using Carmarthenshire County Council’s existing park-and-ride facility on the A40, with an additional pick-up point at Carmarthen railway station.
Ms Evans believes this offers a practical solution to the shortage of parking places at the hospital, which has been made worse since the transfer of some services from Withybush to Glangwili. Ms Evans said: “I am constantly hearing from residents in the Carmarthen area and in Pembrokeshire about the parking nightmare at Glangwili. If you are bringing a sick relative to the hospital for treatment, that is stressful enough without the added worry of being unable to park.
Offering a park-and-ride facility would mean that people could park for free in the park-and-ride and not have to worry about how long they needed to stay at the hospital. If there was a pick-up point at the train station as well it would encourage people to travel by train for routine appointments.”
In response to Ms Evans question, Hywel Dda Health Board’s Director for Strategic Partnerships Sarah Jennings informed those present at the University Health Board Meeting in Lampeter on Thursday (Nov 20) that extending the current park and ride facility run by Carmarthenshire County Council was being considered. Ms Jennings noted that there was spare capacity at the Nant y Ci park and ride site.
A charge of £1 was being considered, similar to the minimum charge to park at Glangwili Hospital but further work on costs would form part of an ongoing discussion with the local authority. Ms Evans has asked Council Leader Kevin Madge to support the proposal which would secure the future of the current park and ride service which runs every 15 minutes between 7am and 7pm. Labour’s Assembly Candidate Marc Tierney has been working closely with Ms Evans on the plan, he said: “Having attended Glangwili, I share the concerns staff, patients and visitors who are very frustrated at the sheer lack of spaces. It simply isn’t that easy to build a multi-story car park on site and I don’t believe ripping up whatever green space is left to create a handful of additional spaces is the best use of health board money given their very difficult financial position at present. I have already spoken to Welsh Health Minister Mark Drakeford about the need to improve transport links to local hospitals – that is it the bus connect must link the bus station, Carmarthen’s railway station and the hospital. It will make getting to the hospital easier especially from the west and free up parking on site for more urgent cases. I hope that the Health Board and the Council can work together now to get this project started as early as next April.”