YEARS of parking chaos at Glan Clwyd Hospital could be brought to an end by a park and ride service.
Health board bosses hope the service, expected to launch in August on the old Hotpoint site in Bodelwyddan, will create an extra 250 spaces.
Visitors to the Bodelwyddan hospital have branded it “a nightmare traffic situation”, with scores of patients and volunteers forced to double park, park on grass verges or outside the site.
Earlier this year, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board partly blamed the congestion problems on the £89.9m re-development taking place at the hospital, which included the new Emergency Quadrant which opened its doors in June.
The hospital currently has 1,790 spaces, some of which are marked for the disabled.
A health board spokesperson said: “The proposal is currently being finalised and we will be able to confirm all the details within the next few weeks.
“Whilst there is no single answer that will deliver sufficient parking on the hospital site, we expect the collective impact of a number of actions to ease the current car parking pressures.”
The shuttle service is one of a number of ideas the hospital management team is working on to improve traffic flow on site, although no exact site has been revealed for the park and ride car park.
Speaking about the current situation, Fiona Lonsdale, explained she recently struggled to pick her partner up from outside the front of the hospital after he had his appendix removed, whilst Julie Gabriel said she couldn’t “even get a space at 10am”.
Marjorie Hall, whose husband went into Glan Clwyd Hospital with a heart attack, called for two story parking to be implemented rather than a shuttle.
Kay Redhead added: “It took me more than half an hour to park for my appointment two weeks ago.
“The frustrating thing was there was a car park steward refusing cars entry to the large car park by the new A&E department, despite there being visible spaces in there.”
Mark Isherwood, North Wales AM, said a shuttle was “only part of the answer".
He said: “I look forward to learning more about the wider actions being considered by the health board to ease congestion and whether this will include a ticketing system like that introduced at Wrexham’s Maelor Hospital."
Darren Millar, Shadow Health Minister and Clwyd West AM, said that he believed that the shuttle would be better used by staff rather than patients and visitors.
He added: "Thousands of staff work at the hospital and obviously they require a substantial number of parking spaces. If they were to use the park and ride, then this would free up spaces in the main car parks for patients and visitors.
"I don’t think it is fair for the elderly and infirm to have to use a park and ride. They need parking as close to the hospital buildings as possible."
Ann Jones, AM for the Vale of Clwyd, expressed that she was "thrilled" will the possibilty of a shuttle bus service.
"I am absolutely thrilled that the Health Board has decided to take forward my idea to open a free park and ride service on the old Hotpoint site in Bodelwyddan," she said.
"Parking has been very difficult for a long time and I am pleased to see that the health board has listened to me and taken action which should alleviate some of the pressures.
“Residents have told me time and time again, the need for solutions to the parking nightmares, and I am very pleased that my solution will soon be working for patients, staff and visitors benefit."