AN ambitious £16.5m project to make Blackpool Victoria one of the best hospitals in the region is up and running.
Bulldozers have arrived on site to start work on a multi-storey car park and a new hospital entrance.
Chief executive at the Vic, Aidan Kehoe, said: “The car park will be a major step forward in the provision of high quality patient care.
“It will provide better access to the hospital for our patients, visitors and staff.
“More importantly it will support our drive to recruit more nurses and other key clinical staff from the Fylde coast and outside the area.”
The car park will increase spaces on-site from 1,081 to 2,056 and will solve the long-running issue of staff and visitors having to leave their cars on local roads - much to the dismay of nearby residents. It also means staff will be safer, as patient relations team manager, Wendy Thomson points out.
Mrs Thompson, who has spent six-and-a-half years on the waiting list for a parking space, said: “I often work late nights and have to walk home which can be quite frightening around Stanley Park after dark.
“It’s so isolated around there and often you are totally alone so the new car park will make my working life much easier.”
She added: “I live in South Shore and my partner brings me in to work each morning, but I am stuck without my car.
“I have parked in neighbouring streets, but have stopped that now because it’s difficult to find a space.
“Not having access to a car at work means you cannot pop out to do anything at lunchtime. If I have a doctor or dentist appointment my partner has to come back to the hospital and collect me then bring me back again.
“It will make everything a lot easier when the multi-storey is built, and also take the pressure off my partner.”
As well as the car park, a new three-storey entrance will be built at the Whinney Heys Road end of the site, and will include a pharmacy, shops, cafe, main reception, waiting area and office accommodation.
Building work on both projects is expected to be completed in 12 months.
The £16.5m bill will be footed by the Department of Health, but will be paid back by the hospital.