NUMBER plate recognition cameras could be installed at the John Radcliffe and Churchill Hospitals as managers look for ways to improve the desperate parking situation.

Daily gridlock and long waits have led to dozens of formal complaints from visitors over the last year with Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (OUH) admitting that the situation had led to some families being placed in ‘considerable distress'.

However, the trust board has now approved plans for the Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) and Variable Message Signs (VMS) in the visitor car parks at the hospitals in Headington which the trust says would be a 'significant step' in reducing the parking problems.

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Hospital managers are limited in their options to solve the long-standing problem with Oxford City Council currently refusing to allow any more parking spaces to be added at the hospitals.

According to the business plan, the new technology will provide quicker access and exit as visitors would not have to wait to take a ticket, while VMS would improve traffic flow around the hospital by allowing patients to see where the spaces are.

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OUH Chief finance officer Jason Dorsett, said: “We recognise that car parking and traffic flow are a major source of frustration for our patients, visitors and staff that can impact negatively on patients’ experience of visiting our hospitals, and we see the implementation of ANPR and VMS as a significant step in improving the current situation."

The scheme should be installed by September 2019 if the plans get the green light from Oxford City Council.