PARKING capacity at the John Radcliffe Hospital will not be increased any time soon despite daily gridlock and dozens of formal complaints.

Despite long-running calls for a new car park, Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) said its hands were tied due to planning guidelines which prevented the number of spaces being increased at the site.

A total of 28 formal complaints have been raised with OUH since January 2018 with the often hour-long queues described as a ‘nightmare’.

The trust revealed that the situation had led to some families being placed in ‘considerable distress’, while the husband of one patient who was forced to walk to A&E because of the gridlock claimed the situation could even result in a death.

Read again: 'Someone could die' queuing to get to Oxford's John Radcliffe A&E​

But the city council says its position has not changed and that adding more spaces will only make congestion worse.

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Traffic in and around the hospital is currently being exacerbated by Oxfordshire County Council’s Access to Headington roadworks scheme, however, the council said the problems would not improve unless something is done about parking at the hospital.

An OUH spokesman said: “National and local planning guidelines mean that implementing extra parking spaces at our hospitals is highly unlikely.

“With this in mind, we’re not likely to submit a planning application for additional spaces.”

Read again: More hospital parking blocked by council due to traffic fears

Visitors have complained about the parking problem at the JR for many years and plans to build a new multi-storey car park were scuppered in 2017 due to the planning guidelines put in place by Oxford City Council in an effort to reduce traffic in Headington.

And the stalemate between the trust and the council appears to mean a real solution could be a long way off.

This week board members heard how patients had raised complaints over the length of wait to find a parking space, lack of parking spaces, cost of parking, lengthy traffic jams on site and the lack of site management over parking in the last year.

In an effort to alleviate some of the pressures OUH chiefs have implemented a number of measures including moving pregnancy units back into the community and changing the base of the admin staff from the hospital to Cowley so that there are more car spaces.

However, some complainants had raised further complaints about the car parking, raising concerns that the trust did not appear to be any further forward in implementing any of the actions from previous responses.

The 33 car parking spaces under the children’s hospital which are currently sealed off will also remain closed while work on plans to strengthen fire safety are ongoing.

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The mother of one patient who did not wish to be named said they had spent more than an hour trying to get parked on the site in December.

She said: “It’s a nightmare trying to get parked.

“My daughter was going for an appointment but in the end she had to get out of the car with my mum and walk, otherwise she would have missed it.

“We’d left more than an hour to get their which you’d think would be long enough.

“How many patients end up missing their appointments because of this?”

The trust has now revealed it will be ‘focusing’ on the parking problem as part of its ‘Patient Experience Delivery Plan’.

The spokesman added: “We acknowledge that parking issues such as queuing for spaces impact our patients’ time with us.

“These issues can be stressful at what is an already difficult time and moving forward we want to focus on parking as part of our patient’s experience of our hospitals.”

Read also: Dad delivers couple's baby in back of their car after A34 traffic scuppers trip to JR​

Patient support group, Patient Voice, have also said the situation must improve and said the group had been told the trust would be introducing ANPR cameras, while bus lanes on Headley Way and a separate entrance for disabled drivers had also been put forward.

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Jacquie Pearce-Gervis of Patient Voice added: “We must remember that those who go to hospital are unwell.

“Something really must be done about it.”

Oxford City Council spokesman Chofamba Sithole said: "The Council’s policy position remains unchanged.

"The council's planning policies for the hospital sites in Headington aim to limit the amount of parking on site, because additional parking will generate more traffic on local streets that are already congested.

"The priority for the limited spaces on site need to be patients, their visitors, and essential medical staff.

"Major employers across Oxford have worked hard to provide alternative ways of getting their staff to work using public transport, and the trust is no different.