Author Topic: Great Western Hospital Access Road  (Read 4656 times)

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Offline Outoftowner

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Great Western Hospital Access Road
« on: April 29, 2014, 08:38:21 PM »
I remember staff at the GWH saying how they had to struggle to find a car parking space in amongst the patients and visitors and thought it amazing at the time that a situation had come about where staff did not have their own car-park

Today I entered Swindon from a direction that I would normally not use and drove part the GWH. I saw the access road to the hospital blocked with traffic and the main road in both directions had a traffic tail back. A friend of mine was with me and we were both amazed to see this situation. As we drove away we drove away we debated how planners setting up a new hospital on open land on the outskirts of a town could get the parking so wrong. Th e situation that we saw was at about 10:45 in the morning, probably not the busiest time of day.

15 minutes or so later we drove in the opposite direction and this time were were horrified to see the same traffic situation but this time an ambulance, heading toward the hospital but with its BLUE LIGHTS FLASHING, was blocked solid in the traffic with no one able to get out of its way.

Now. Who on earth would be so dim as to not provide an ambulance only access road to a hospital?

Now imagine the traffic chaos if a serious large scale accident occurred in the area where the GWH is nominated as an emergency clearing station. I'm talking about a train or aircraft crash, or even a multiple vehicle pile up on the A419 or M4. Would we have all the ambulances stuck in traffic and unable to return to the incident to pick up more patients?

The relevant "Planners" should have the 5Ps, in longhand, tattoo'd on their backside with a branding iron for this! :tickedoff:


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Offline Mart

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Re: Great Western Hospital Access Road
« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2014, 05:06:03 PM »
Not the first time apparently.

If the parking barriers decide to jack it in visitors back up down onto the road.

Not a particularly noble way to go is it, carking it because some tool couldn't design properly.
Sometimes I think you have to march right in and demand your rights, even if you don’t know what your rights are, or who the person is you’re talking to. Then, on the way out, slam the door.

Offline Midlander

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Re: Great Western Hospital Access Road
« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2014, 07:26:36 PM »
This is hardly surprising. Back in the days of Princess Margaret Hospital, do you remember the time when they closed Kings Hill?

Someone living on the western side of the town could of died because they couldn't get to the hospital!

Our council seems to be quick to put up road closures, but very slow at dealing with the repercussions.

As for the Great Western Hospital. well it's not the only complex in Swindon to have only one way in or out.


Offline Jean

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Re: Great Western Hospital Access Road
« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2014, 11:03:33 PM »
There is an emergency access road to the hospital from the A419.

The car-parking situation was the hospital trust's own doing. They gave guarantees to Swindon Council that their Green Transport Plan would not require more parking spaces than that provided at Princess Margaret Hospital. This was an attempt by them to overcome the major conflict of planning for the building of a hospital, at a remote out-of-town site, that was not served by public transport, not easy to access on foot, bicycle etc when government transport planning guidelines (so-called PPG13 at the time) encouraged this type of facility to be built in town centres. You might remember that the alternative site being promoted by the opposition was near the railway station.

We all knew that more staff, patients and visitors were likely to rely on a car to get to the new hospital than at Old Town - and we were proved right.

The parking arrangements at GWH were not Swindon Council's fault, although they did give the go ahead for the hospital to be built at Commonhead. The Green Transport Plan was a total failure and the hospital proved to be the Trojan Horse that opened Coate up to major development. We were right about this too, I am sorry to say.

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Offline Outoftowner

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Re: Great Western Hospital Access Road
« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2014, 11:47:13 PM »
A sad tale Jean! If an access for emergency vehicles is available on the A419 (presumably north bound only?) an ambulance driver choosing to use the "normal" access road has done so for a reason, albeit  a reason that I cannot understand, unless the routes to the A419 access are somewhat difficult?

All the same, I do not look forward, as Mart points out, to snuffing it in a traffic jam of an idiot's making!
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Offline Muggins

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Re: Great Western Hospital Access Road
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2014, 08:04:44 AM »
I remember those meetings SO well Jean, learning lots about planning from them.  The green transport plan isn't working because its been forgotten about. (Up this neck of the woods Groundwell Park and Ride etc.)

I remember a bit of debate with a community colleague, when I said it ought to go in town (so visitors, staff, day patients etc. would at least have good bus routes.  He said that he would rather take his chances in an ambulance down the A419, I could see his point, but still felt that as traffic grew, or accidents, motorway back-ups etc. that town still might be the better option. Having said that the site being suggested was by the College on the Ferndale side wasn't it? and now there is no worse internal road than the great western way. I believe section 106 money was taken to provide the bus serves for 'so many' years.

Well here we are?  How long did it take before the traffic problems started to rear their head?  And where are the buses? 
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Tobes

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Re: Great Western Hospital Access Road
« Reply #6 on: May 01, 2014, 09:56:21 AM »
What a weird world.

When I worked in a corporate environment as a 'little person', I remember well the atmosphere of fear which resulted from the recriminations which would occur if someone made the slightest error of judgement; from typo to late email.

But here we have a decision which was cogitated and deliberated over by so called 'experts', people paid telephone number salaries to deliver something which ought to provide the best possible service for a community: a service which is quite literally a matter of life and death for those it serves.

And yet, like so many other projects across Chavopolis, the painfully bloody obvious was ignored for a mixture of political expediency and financial concern.

Who are these people, how do they get away with it when time after time after time, normal ordinary people point out in advance the inevitable problems their decisions will bring in their wake - but are totally ignored?

 :-\
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Offline Terry Reynolds

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Re: Great Western Hospital Access Road
« Reply #7 on: May 01, 2014, 10:58:23 AM »
I went to a meeting last night of the 'better swindon' group and I hope from what they said and have done so far, that this sort of cockup is a thing of the past.  speak to Karen and she will tell you all about it. I have their web site but pm me and ill send it to you..

Offline Jean

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Re: Great Western Hospital Access Road
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2014, 12:27:18 PM »
I went to a meeting last night of the 'better swindon' group and I hope from what they said and have done so far, that this sort of cockup is a thing of the past.  speak to Karen and she will tell you all about it. I have their web site but pm me and ill send it to you..

I can't see how the better Swindon group or any other group will make a difference. I wish that they could and every good luck to them for trying. Nearly 30 years of head-banging against the brick wall of Swindon Council has finally had the better of me. They don't seem to understand logic!

There are plenty of people in Swindon (and I must include Muggins, Simon & Martin Wicks in this list as I've known them for so long) who never relied on emotion or shouting the loudest to get their message across. Arguments were based on facts, research, asking the right questions, experience, government policies and guidelines etc etc. Karen has demonstrated that she uses the same type of tactic. It is damn hard work.

Tobes is so right when he says

What a weird world.

When I worked in a corporate environment as a 'little person', I remember well the atmosphere of fear which resulted from the recriminations which would occur if someone made the slightest error of judgement; from typo to late email.

But here we have a decision which was cogitated and deliberated over by so called 'experts', people paid telephone number salaries to deliver something which ought to provide the best possible service for a community: a service which is quite literally a matter of life and death for those it serves.

And yet, like so many other projects across Chavopolis, the painfully bloody obvious was ignored for a mixture of political expediency and financial concern.

Who are these people, how do they get away with it when time after time after time, normal ordinary people point out in advance the inevitable problems their decisions will bring in their wake - but are totally ignored?

 :-\

These people, that Tobes refers to in the last sentence, don't stay in their job long, they move on to fresh fields, many turn from gamekeeper to poacher and leave the mess that they created for others to sort out.
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Offline Muggins

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Re: Great Western Hospital Access Road
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2014, 04:04:38 PM »
Endorsed by me Jean, they leave their jobs or are swiftly made redundant. 

I'm thinking the same as you about the Better Swindon Group.  I hope they make it!

I'll raise you a Martha Parry - Culture/Heritage, (Martha nags, but she didn't shout - she won't mind me saying that!) and Joe Backshell/Glenis Niven  - Disabilities, Brian Burrow - planning, (RIP by the way) Eddie Bedwell - I think his passion was renewables and Northern sector planning), Sue Birley (and David) - all things environmental. Sherry Waldon - all things equality, Charmin Spickernell, CPRE, but soo helpful with Swindons planning issues.  I'm sure I could think of more, it was  amazing what we put up with and just kept going etc.  A real pot of knowledge.  I suppose we were the Better Swindon group of our day, and we helped set the policy that's not being kept to now. Wasn't it called the 21st Century Swindon Forum at one point?

Some of the workers were not bad too.  Tony Hagar, Thamesdown Equalities Council, Richard Hazel - Law Centre, Neil Pullen - Wilts Wildlife Trust, Simon Smith BTCV (they always overlapped with other things too. SBC Martin Cobden - Retired,   Richard Keating - Community Forest,  a couple of the community development team of the time. All really got stuck in to what they were doing with us. 

We sort of covered the spectrum didn't we?

I'm sure Jean can think of more - we ought to have a reunion!
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Jean

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Re: Great Western Hospital Access Road
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2014, 07:53:37 PM »
Yes indeed, Muggins, 21st Century Swindon Forum - the town's answer to the global concept of Agenda 21 and the promotion of "sustainable development" that put environmental and social matters on an equal footing with economic development (but it gave the environment the benefit of the doubt if there was a conflict of interests) and it took up where Thamesdown Environmental Forum left off. The Forum brought together so many diverse voluntary groups and individuals but I don't remember any arguments or bickering. Given that we all had our own agendas, it is amazing how we agreed on so many matters. 

I chaired the Transport Planning Group and this is how I got involved with the Swindon & Marlborough NHS Trust's Green Transport Plan for the hospital. It was never going to work with a hospital destined to be built at Commonhead. So the Trust's paid minions picked our brains and our expertise, that we gave freely as volunteers, and, in a way, I helped them get planning permission for that new hospital! So naïve! Never again!     
 
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Offline Muggins

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Re: Great Western Hospital Access Road
« Reply #11 on: May 01, 2014, 08:31:56 PM »
Wait til I get up not the proper  PC tomorrow , niave we were not, we knew the risks but shared knowledge anyway, because we knew we had to give it the best chance whilst has the chance!  And w yes we were all working to a common aim - a better Swindon!  At least it,it's not our faulting it isn't.  Wwe did the best we could,  at our own cost and giving our time freely,  and just kept going!

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Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Great Western Hospital Access Road
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2014, 09:07:29 PM »
I agree that the single access and inadequate parking provision at the hospital are a problem, but I disagree that the GWH is in the wrong place.

A town centre location would be a nightmare as there are too many single carriageway roads. The hospital is located close to the M4 and A419. If there was an accident on the M4 and the hospital was in the town centre, ambulances would still have to come along Marlborough Road before encountering the Magic Roundabout and busy town centre roads.

The main routes to the hospital (A419, M4 and Marlborough Road) are all 2 or 3 lanes so much easier to negotiate. The problem seems to be parked cars blocking the narrow entrance. Having to negotiate Wootton Bassett Road and Okus Road to get to the old PMH would be much worse.

Once the Eastern Development is completed, the GWH will be more central than it is now. Of course it won't be able to cope with the increased population then, but that is another cock up.

As for carking it in ambulance in a traffic jam on the access road, is that any worse than getting there promptly and then being dumped on a trolley in a corridor for 4 hours? :surrender:

The Green Travel plan was never going to work as it was based on ivory tower thinking rather than reality. What would we like people to do as opposed to what do we think they will do.  :hippy: The council also cut the bus service as soon as the Section 106 subsidy ran out.
 

Offline Muggins

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Re: Great Western Hospital Access Road
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2014, 08:33:46 AM »
And yet here we are just a few short years later with a problem!

We knew that would happens - ref 106 - give - take away.

Like it or not Spunky the green travel policy was/is a necessity and partly because it's been ignored here we are so few years later with a real problem as was predicted.

The prediction was that if they put the Hospital where it was people would want/have to drive there cars to it, there was not enough room for all those cars, not on the roads, not on the  amount of land left for car parks and for the large area the hospital had to serve. 

So every hope was that people could be encouraged to take the bus, ride their bike  etc. and provision made. One bus full take up to 54 cars off the road and the 106 subsidy was given to prove it - it must have worked a bit, the buses seemed to be full enough and they were fast, other ordinary services took some to hospital too. 

They kept saying about the area the hospital was to serve - Wiltshire as well as Swindon, and to get to the hospital where it is, by bus, you would of course have to get into Swindon to get out again. 

Whatever contribution you make now, believe me was put and discussed at those meetings by others, and it wasn't just 8/10 round a table more like 50 and they weren't 2 hours long either, usually a day.

It isn't a matter of a few zealots wanting road peace back, it's a worldwide problem with international movements and agreements - if not laws.

Should that hospital have been put where it is on the off chance that there would be a pile up on the motorway, when it is day by day all day long to serve the people of this town on all sides? And it will be  no more central when the Eastern development goes ahead, it will still be right on the outskirts.

Oh dear God! And with more people trying to get to it!!!!  That will be the end of my quick dash down the A419 from here then.

Ps we have the same problem with what was a well used Park and Ride up here, it get's closed a couple of years ago (the section 106 money on that also ran out) and now everyone is up in arms about the Moonraker's roundabout and there is talk of trying to get expensive and major work done to it.

This folks is a waste of YOUR money!

Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Muggins

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Re: Great Western Hospital Access Road
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2014, 08:46:10 AM »
Jean,  At least when we were attending all these consultations and meetings it was by the invitation of the Borough, and if I remember rightly? them funding of the 21st Century Forum.  i.e. we were encouraged to participate??

Therefore how much more difficult it will be for Better Swindon, unless some radical change happens in the borough to make citizen participation the things to do again (and not at the divisive Locality Meetings).

Because despite all the fine words and government dictates, it doesn't seem to be happening much at all.
And I don't believe that it's all about cost of hall hire, lack of staff, etc. I believe that our administration simply felt/feels very nervous about being brought to task in public. 

However that shouldn't stop the One Swindon Partnership partners from bringing us together more than once a year and talking about the BIG issues rather than just bringing us together to tell us how difficult it is for them at this time.  They could also do more to help with our relationship with the Borough.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Jean

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Re: Great Western Hospital Access Road
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2014, 09:22:56 AM »
Well said Muggins. Thank you for explaining to SpunkyM that the current site for the hospital was not a good one. And it's not just Swindon & Wiltshire folk that use the hospital - it is the nearest hospital for many others who live in Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Berkshire. From where I live in Oxfordshire, I can get into Swindon town centre by bus and that applies to many who live in the hinterlands. But when you have to catch more than one bus/or train to reach your destination (and that goes for people who live in Swindon too who would have to get a bus to the town centre and then another to the hospital), chances are that you wouldn't bother if there is a car handy. Because the hospital is next to the A419 and M4, it encourages car use, because people don't look for other options.

Take London hospitals for example. Most were built without any or very limited parking provision. People are aware that if they need to go to hospital, parking a car is not an option and alternative arrangements are made. 

 
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Offline Muggins

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Re: Great Western Hospital Access Road
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2014, 09:42:29 AM »
To be honest the whole health provision around here seems to depend on people having the use of a car, made very difficult when you don't!

Because hospitals are specialising - and I can see the sense in having centres of excellence etc etc. A doctors referral to GWH can lead to a referral to say Oxford, Bristol Southampton, you name it, you can find yourself there. 

Getting to the hospitals (by car) in Oxford (in the town) we found no problem, well no more than GWH. And two main roads were flooded the week we were going too and back.

Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)

Offline Midlander

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Re: Great Western Hospital Access Road
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2014, 01:02:44 PM »
Having the main hospital in the centre of the town is not a good idea. If you have to go for an operation, what do they tell you before it is done? You need to have arranged in advance for someone to pick you up - BY CAR! You are not allowed to go home on public transport - the hospital staff will tell you that. This is why I thought it was crazy for the city of Bristol to build all theirs in the centre - with very small car parks!

I seem to remember the reason why the Park and Ride in North Swindon was closed, was because the Penhill residents were benefiting from a cheap bus journey into town, rather than pay for Day Riders like everyone else.

I've been without a car for years, but even when I had a car, I used to catch the bus. The car parking charges when the hospital first opened were horrendous, plus the doctors would keep you waiting for hours for your appointment, putting you at risk of being fined for overstaying the time on your ticket.

Driving to hospital in Oxford IS a problem Muggins. I've drove along the dreaded A420 many times when my son was born, and I always remember a doctor at Princess Margaret spent from 9 in the morning to mid afternoon umming and arring over my son's condition before finally telling us to take him to John Radcliffe - at which point it was the rush hour!

If they turned the A420 into a dual carriageway, the problem would be solved, but it seems people are more interested in building relief roads across swamps and sewage farms!

Offline Spunkymonkey

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Re: Great Western Hospital Access Road
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2014, 09:15:05 PM »
Well said Muggins. Thank you for explaining to SpunkyM that the current site for the hospital was not a good one.

Slightly patronising, although the explanation failed to convince me anyway.

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And it's not just Swindon & Wiltshire folk that use the hospital - it is the nearest hospital for many others who live in Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Berkshire. From where I live in Oxfordshire, I can get into Swindon town centre by bus and that applies to many who live in the hinterlands. But when you have to catch more than one bus/or train to reach your destination 

As someone who has a car, even catching one bus is an inconvenience, especially if I am feeling ill. I have had a few appointments at GWH recently and have had to nip out of work to have a consultation or scan and then back at my desk 90 minutes. If I had to rely on public transport, I would have needed to take the day off work. One the three visits that I have made recently, I have actually found a parking space really easily. I may have to go in for day surgery soon and have been told that I must have someone to look after me for 24 hours afterwards and I must not travel by public transport (taxi or car only).

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(and that goes for people who live in Swindon too who would have to get a bus to the town centre and then another to the hospital), chances are that you wouldn't bother if there is a car handy.

Exactly my point. People like cars.

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Because the hospital is next to the A419 and M4, it encourages car use, because people don't look for other options.

So it is in a convenient location then? I would also have thought that fast convenient access for ambulances was a higher priority than visitors arriving by bus.

The initial comment on this thread was actually about lack of parking and blocked access to the site. The Green Travel plan seems to have caused this problem. By deliberately providing inadequate parking and trying to force the public to use an unpopular and inconvenient form of transport the planners have failed. People are still using their cars despite the parking problems. The Green Travel may have been well intentioned but it failed.

Offline Muggins

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Re: Great Western Hospital Access Road
« Reply #19 on: May 03, 2014, 08:11:46 AM »
"As someone who has a car, even catching one bus is an inconvenience, especially if I am feeling ill. I have had a few appointments at GWH recently and have had to nip out of work to have a consultation or scan and then back at my desk 90 minutes."

Of course, that's what the car park is there for.  We too, have had to visit the hospital a few times lately, Mr Muggins sometimes drops family members outside and picks them up again later, but this time he felt he couldn't face trying to find a parking space, so we drove into town, parked there and caught the bus in - the bus drops us nearer the actual entrance than parking anyway.  The next time, a family member dropped us off and picked us up. So we sort of juggle and although not at work, we sometimes have to do other things whilst we are out, etc'

So it would be better if the hospital the a bigger car park and where it is, the size of the hospital and the bit of land it had to go on, meant it never would have - that's why they were required to have the Green plan. The time it takes to catch the bus also is a factor for working people I know.

I think putting the 'GREEN' at the start just closed some minds, to figuring it out. And it's not working because some of the benefits of it have note come forward or been taken out. 

And I didn't mean the Oxford trip is good, it was just Ok for us - that maybe the times we went. Except one evening when we hit the rush hour and it was awful weather, I did not enjoy any one of those journeys that week - people had told me it was awful and it was. An OK journey for Mr Muggins is "so long as my wheels keep turning" and he makes overall good time.

There is developing/has developed a snobbery about using buses too.
Oi! Listen mush. Old eyes, remember? I’ve been around the block a few times. More than a few. They’ve knocked down the blocks I’ve been around and rebuilt them as bigger blocks. Super blocks. And I’ve been round them as well.  The Doctor (Night Terrors)