A NEW park-and-ride site for hospital staff could be created to cut congestion at the John Radcliffe site in Oxford, according to the man in charge of the county’s transport.

In March, health watchdog Patient Voice warned some patients were missing appointments because they could not get a parking space and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust admitted parking difficulties were contributing to the problem.

Now Oxfordshire County Council cabinet member for transport David Nimmo Smith has said highways officers would talk to trust managers about the possibility of a new park-and-ride being created to relieve pressure on hospital parking.

Mr Nimmo Smith said a possible location for the new car park would be on land near the Marston exit of the Northern Bypass.

He added: “This is just an idea at the moment and council officers will discuss it with the trust over the next few months.

“Clearly, for patients and visitors, there are not enough spaces and some patients have missed their appointments. The site could be used by hospital staff and visitors, and you could then reduce the number of staff spaces at the JR, to create more spaces for visitors.”

City council leader Bob Price backed the hospital park-and-ride plan. He said: “The concept is a good one, but you should not rule out the possibility of creating more parking on the hospital sites.

Chairwoman of Patient Voice Jacquie Pearce-Gervis said the park-and-ride plan should be put in place “sooner rather than later”.

Oxfordshire Royal College of Nursing senior regional officer Victoria Couling added that stress caused by parking issues at the John Radcliffe could be “immense”.

Mike Ratcliffe, chairman of the Headington Plan Steering Group, said: “At peak times it can take 45 minutes to get on and off the JR site from Headley Way. In theory a park-and-ride for hospital staff sounds like a good idea.”

Mark Trumper, director of development and the estate at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “Currently we offer 730 visitor spaces and 1,606 staff designated parking spaces.

There are no plans to reduce the number of staff parking spaces, but we continue to explore alternative off-site parking options for staff.”