Motorists who ignore disabled parking spaces and block at emergency access at Daisy Hill Hospital will shortly run the risk of being slapped with parking charge notices.
New parking enforcement arrangements will be in place at the Newry site from Monday, November 6.
A licensed car parking contractor will be patrolling these areas on the Daisy Hill site and will issue parking charge notices (PCN) to drivers parked “inappropriately”.
The PCN fee will be set at £60 or £40 if paid within 14 days – in line with recommendations from the British Parking Association Code of Practice.
Clamping or towing may also be applied.
Enforcement will apply around the front of the main hospital and include the drop off zone, ambulance bays red hatched areas and blue light route which is critical for the ambulance route.
Enforcement will also be applied to vehicles parked at the Occupational Therapy/Renal car park and in disabled spaces throughout the site without displaying a valid blue badge.
This new arrangement is being introduced in response to ongoing traffic issues.
Esther Gishkori, Director of Acute Services for the Southern Trust, explained: “Those familiar with the Daisy Hill Hospital site will be very well aware of the ongoing issues with traffic congestion and the misuse of disabled car parking spaces.
“We have been reviewing traffic management across all of our hospitals and are introducing a number of measures to improve parking for our disabled patients and visitors and to ease congestion around the front of the hospital.
“Our recent car parking survey indicated support for enforcement to help prevent abuse of disabled spaces and blue light zones.
“Cars are parking inappropriately around our access routes and in disabled spaces without displaying a blue badge.
“It is absolutely vital that we protect emergency routes and allow ease of drop off for those who need to access the hospital.
“We hope that the introduction of enforcement will deter people from parking inappropriately, help to improve congestion and provide a safer, more accessible environment for everyone. The Daisy Hill Hospital site is a very challenging site and the Trust continues to review measures within available funding to ease our traffic problems.”
Enforcement at Daisy Hill follows the introduction of parking charge notices at Craigavon Area Hospital during the summer months, where there has since been a noticeable improvement, according to the Trust.
The situation will be kept under review.