Staff and patients at Kirkcaldy Health Centre staged a demonstration outside the car park this morning in protest of ongoing parking problems.
Around 20 protesters stood outside the entrance to the car park, placards in hand, as NHS staff came in to work.
Practice managers at Whytemans Brae, which caters for around 20,000 patients, have received complaints for months about staff from Victoria Hospital being allowed to use their car park, often leaving patients with nowhere to park.
David Stewart, former chairman of the hospitals, lead the demonstration and called on the NHS to do more.
“NHS staff turned up during the week, no consultation, and marked out 34 spaces for patients. That is not even a third of the car park – what about the other two thirds?
“What we need to know is how they are going to prevent NHS staff from Victoria Hospital parking in these spaces. That’s the major problem.”
In a statement reacting to the NHS splitting the car park, practice managers at the Health Centre said the move ‘was underhanded and manipulative’ and ‘extremely discourteous’.
In response, NHS Fife claims that it hopes to organise a meeting with practice representatives in the New Year to discuss a solution to the problem.
NHS Fife also described the creation of 34 spaces as having a ‘positive difference in a short period of time’.
However, David, like many others at the demonstration, says a return to the previous parking setup is the prefered solution.
He said: “We need to go back to how it was. We had a barrier and a security person and he stopped people and asked if they were staff at the Health Centre or a patient.
“If you weren’t a patient or staff then you weren’t getting in.”
David also stressed that this would not be the end of the protests if the NHS did not solve the problem.
“This goes on,” he said. “We’ve got a petition with 2600 signatures on it. We’ll be presenting that to Tricia Marwick (who will become NHS Fife chair in January) when she takes the job. This is not the end!”
Councillor Stuart MacPhail, who represents Kirkcaldy Central, joined the protesters and discussed the issues they have been facing.
He claims he has received numerous complaints from patients about the parking situation and does not think the 34 spaces marked for patients is enough.
“The 34 patient space idea will only work because there is a guard here today,” he said. “It’s not going to be a permanent thing. He’s not likely to be here tomorrow. He’s already had to move several people.
“The problem is, when he goes, who is going to stop people parking in patient only spaces?”
The protesters spoke to the Press about the problems they have faced parking at the Health Centre.
Pat Fyfe (54) first raised the issue admitted he felt ‘annoyed’ watching staff at Victoria Hospital parking in the health centre car park and then walking over to the hospital.
He said: “I’ve been coming here for years and it’s just getting worse and worse. I’ve had to park at the shops and other times I’ve been going round in circles waiting for a spot to open up.”
“I’d like to see it go back to patients only. The NHS should have consideration for the elderly or people who have had a time walking.”
Janet Stewart (74), another patient at the Health Centre, criticised the NHS for the lack of parking spaces.
“I come in on a morning and can’t get parked,” she explained. “They took down a notice at the entrance of the car park saying it is for staff and patients only. Why were we not consulted?”