The Anonymous Widower

A Solution To Hospital Car Parking Charges

If I need to go to my preferred hospital of University College Hospital, I walk round the corner from my house and get a number 30 bus, which stops outside the hospital.

If I want to go to the Royal London Hospital, I take the Overground four stops to Whitechapel.

I live in Dalston, which is reasonably close to Central London and I chose to live here, as I don’t drive.

Some other cities have good hospital access on public transport.

  • Addenbroke’s Hospital in Cambridge has a fast guided busy to the City Centre and the North of the City. It also has it’s own bus station and may even get a railway station.
  • The Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham has a tram stop with direct step-free access to the hospital. The tram system also has seven large Park-and-Ride sites.
  • James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough has its own railway station.

But how many hospitals and that includes many new ones have terrible public transport links?

Consider two elderly sisters; Elsie and Doris, perhaps living on opposite sides of the country.

Suppose one sister has a bad fall and ends up in the local hospital.

  • The train system in the UK is improving and I’ve regularly met fellow train passengers well into their eighties travelling for four or five hours by train, to visit friends and relatives or have a holiday.
  • Crossing London can be a problem for some, but my London-savvy eighty-five year old friend does it regularly.

It’s just the last link to the hospital, that can be a problem.

Norwich And Norfolk Hospital

The Norfolk and Norwich Hospital is a large teaching hospital, that was built in 2001 on the Western outskirts of the City.

It replaced a City Centre hospital.

There is a bus from the station, but finding details of the schedule is difficult, as the bus company’s web site, is more about selling you deals, that telling you how often the buses run.

I suppose the only way to find out is to go to Norwich station and do some bus spotting.

This Google Map shows the location of the hospital close to the University of East Anglia and the world-famous John Innes Institute.

I’ve only ever been to the area by car and I do wonder what students without transport think about getting to the University of East Anglia.

It certainly, isn’t the sort of place, I’d have wanted to go to University. During our time at Liverpool, C and myself were always popping down Brownlow Hill to the City Centre.

In somewhere like Germany or Switzerland, there would be a tram from the train station.

A London Example Of Improvement

If I wanted to go to Barnet Hospital, I would take the Underground to High Barnet station and then get a bus. But the Underground and bus interchange at High Barnet is not easy, especially on a wet day.

But it does appear that there is a better route, which involves catching a 384 bus from Cockfosters station.

  • The bus provides a feeder service direct to the hospital.
  • Cockfosters station will be step-free in a few years.
  • The bus stops at both Barnet Hospital and the A & E unit.

It’s certainly a lot better than when I lived in the area as a child.

Why Can’t All Hospitals Have Decent Public Transport?

Hospitals are important to so many people and although not every hospital can have a transport network as good as Addenbrooke’s, the Queen’s Medial Centre or University College Hospital, getting to some hospitals is a major logistics nightmare.

  • Hospitals serving a large rural area, must be at the heart of the bus network.
  • There should be a frequent bus or tram service to the city or town centre and the main railway station.
  • There should be much better information.
  • Hospitals could follow Nottingham’s and Cambridge’s .examples, where the hospital is on the city’s Park-and-Ride network.

How many hospitals in the UK meet this standard?


I believe that if decent public transport is provided to a hospital, that many patients, staff and visitors will use it, as they seem to do in Cambridge, London and Nottingham.

  • In some places there is no easy way to get to the hospital and driving is the only way.
  • Car parking is expensive to provide.
  • Some hospitals have no space for car parking to be increased or added.
  • How many are late for their appointments because the parking is full or they can’t find a space?
  • Making car parking free will only make the problem worse, as everybody will drive.

Perhaps we should rate hospitals on the quality of the public transport, just as they are rated on care.


November 24, 2019 Posted by | Health, Transport | , | 2 Comments

Parking Fees Rise At Many Hospitals In 2017-18, Analysis Finds

The title of this post is the same as that of this article on the BBC.

This is the first paragraph.

Four in 10 NHS hospitals in England have increased car parking prices in the last year, new data suggests.

I don’t drive, so it doesn’t effect me and the only hospitals I’ve visited in the last few years; Addenbrooke’s, Homerton, Royal London and University College have been easily accessible by public transport.

The real scandal is that so many hospitals are not easily accessible using fully-accessible public transport.

  • Addenbrooke’s has a large bus interchange, which has connections to Cambridge City Centre and at least one of the City’s large Park-and-Ride sites.
  • Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre has a tram connection to the large Park-and-Ride sites.

But I can think of several hospitals, where the only public transport is an expensive taxi.

I also remember a hospital administrator in London telling me, that the largest number of complaints they received was about car parking.


December 28, 2018 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , | 2 Comments

A Station For Morriston Hospital

Morriston Hospital is in Swansea or to be more precise it appears to be up the hill and a fair way from Swansea station. I could probably just walk it.

It would appear that there are plans to reopen Cockett station, which would only be ten minutes by train from the main station and close enough  to Morriston Hospital for a shuttle bus.

It would also mean that to get between the Hospital and East Wales, you wouldn’t have to go into Swansea and change trains.

It looks like the Welsh are finally getting access to the hospital acceptable, but so many hospitals don’t have a decent transport connection.

At too many places in the UK, the only reliable way to get from the main station to the local hospital is by hiring a taxi.

Is that acceptable?

February 18, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , | 1 Comment

Queen’s Medical Centre On The Nottingham Express Transit

The Queen’s Medical Centre is Nottingham’s big hospital.

The tram climbs onto a viaduct to pass through the hospital and although the walkways into the hospital aren’t fully completed, it is surely the way to provide transport to a hospital.

The guy manning the station, as surely it is too grand just be a stop, was proud of his charge, saying it is the only hospital with a tram stop in the UK. I think he could be right, although University station in Birmingham serves the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and my three local hospitals are all served by the Overground or Underground.

Having seen this station, there is no doubt in my mind, that to serve a hospital with its large number of people with mobility problems is the best way to do it, if it is possible.

Nottingham’s solution at the Queen’s Medical Centre is definitely world class.

Nottingham certainly passes the Two Elderly Siblings test with a score of at least nine out of ten.

One sibling is in the hospital and the other lives some distance away but can get to the nearest station to the hospital reasonably easy. Can they then get from the nearest station to the hospital using local transport? Even if they are being pushed in a wheelchair.

In Nottingham, you would use a lift at the station to get to the tram and then it’s a simple ride on a step-free low-floor tram to the station. The hospital is actually on the other side of the tram tracks on arrival from Nottingham station, but as it’s a tram, you just walk or be pushed across, to enter the hospital.

September 2, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , | 1 Comment

Boring Architecture

I passed the site of the old Middlesex hospital, where two of my children were born today.

The building except for the chapel and the Nassau Street fontage could be anywhere in the world and it doesn’t really do the site justice.

I don’t like it, one bit!

May 7, 2015 Posted by | World | , , | 1 Comment

Hospital Closure Protests

Yesterday’s BBC London local news led with a story about how the hospitals of Epsom and St. Helier NHS Trust will be redeveloped.

They currently have three hospitals at Epsom, St. Helier and Sutton and consultants overhead on a train, are saying that a new hospital will be developed on one of the sites.

From what the report said, the locals want to keep all hospitals, which may not be the most economic or practical solutions.

I have looked at Google Earth images and the details on how you get to these hospitals and I suspect that the only practical way to get to these hospitals is by car or taxi. But as they probably charge an arm and a leg for parking, this is probably something that gets protested about all the time.

If they do build a new hospital it must be easily accessible by public transport. At present all sites need a long walk to all except Epsom, which is obviously a policy designed to discourage poorly and elderly patients and visitors without their own transport. There have been plans to link St. Helier hospital on the Tramlink, but nothing seems to be happening in that area. This is the Google Earth image for the hospital.

St. Helier Hospital

St. Helier Hospital

Surely, if you are going to create a new super-hospital it must have first-class public transport links. This article in the Local Guardian shows the route of the proposed Tramlink extension.

St. Helier Tramlink

St. Helier Tramlink

I would assume that the loop to St. Helier Hospital includes street running or goes through Rose Hill Park. This a Google Earth image of the area.


St. Helier Tramlink Detail

St. Helier Tramlink Detail

The roundabout at the top left is Rosehill roundabout, which is planned to have a tram stop and the hospital is at the bottom right.

It would seem feasible to run the Tramlink to the hospital, but would the street running and/or possible loss of green space, create a lot of opposition?

A survey on the Merton Council web site is very supportive of Tramlink going to the hospital.

An interesting fact is that there is a frequent train service, that takes just ten minutes between Epsom and Sutton stations, so if a super-hospital was built on the St. Helier site, getting there from Epsom wouldn’t be difficult, provided of course the Tramlink extension was built.

If we look at Epsom Hospital becoming the super-hospital, then here is a Google Earth image that shows both Epsom station and the hospital.

Epsom Station And Hospital

Epsom Station And Hospital

The station is at the top and the hospital is indicated by the red arrow at the bottom.

From experience of the area years ago, it is not an easy walk and should a super-hospital be served by buses alone?

The other site is to build it on the old Sutton Hospital. But this is only served by buses from Sutton station, as is the nearby world-class Royal Marsden Hospital. This Google Earth image shows the two hospitals and the nearest rail station at Belmont.

Sutton Hospitals And Belmont Station

Sutton Hospitals And Belmont Station

There could be possibilities to sort out the transport links in some way to Belmont station, but it only has an infrequent service with nothing on a Sunday.

I have a feeling that if the Tramlink extension is built between Wimbledon and Sutton stations, that if tram-trains were used they could extend down the Epsom Downs branch, with perhaps a loop to serve the developing Health Campus based on the Royal Marsden and perhaps a super-hospital built at Sutton.

April 14, 2015 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

Greater Manchester To Control Local Health Budget

\This report on the BBC entitled Greater Manchester Councils ‘to control £6bn NHS budget’, is surely the way for healthcare to go in the UK, as I suspect that health needs in various parts of the country can be very different.

Manchester is getting increasingly like London with an elected mayor responsible for various issues. Some of these issues are related, like the provision of good public transport to and from hospitals, so it is only right that they are dealt with locally. I am lucky in that my three local hospitals; the Royal London, Homerton and University College are all an easy bus ride or train journey away, but what proportion of the UK population, need to get a car or taxi to their local hospital?

February 25, 2015 Posted by | Health, Transport | , , | 3 Comments

An Unnecessary Good Deed

I like to think that I can be a gentleman some of the time.

When I was going home this afternoon from London Bridge, I took the Northern Line to Old Street with the intention of getting a 141 bus from Provost Street opposite Moorfields Eye Hospital.

To get from the station to the stop I first had to cross East Road, walk past the stop for the southbound 43 bus and then cross Provost Street itself.

As I started to cross Provost Street, I noticed a classic little old lady with a white stick, who seemed rather feared to cross the other way. So I crossed over and asked if I could help. She told me that she needed to get a 21 bus south towards Lewisham. I should say that I did do a bit of training with Guide Dogs for the Blind on how to lead people, so after telling her that the stop was behind the building on our left, I guided her across the road, past the 43 bus stop and then across East Road to walk back to the step for the 21.

What was a bit frustrating was that as we crossed East Road, a 21 bus disappeared on its way south.

A few minutes later and with a bit of help from a fellow passenger, who told us a 21 was due in three minutes, I put the lady on the bus to New Cross and her home.

I used the word unnecessary in the title of this post. for two reasons.

I said the lady was a classic little old lady in the mould of Louisa Wilberforce in The Ladykillers or Mrs. Ross in The Whisperers, but she certainly was totally on the ball and without any eccentricities. She was also proud too, that she’d got the bus so easily northwards from New Cross. She also thought it a good idea to try my route next time, of a 43 to say Finsbury Square and then get the 21 from the same stop.

But the main reason, all of my guiding was unnecessary is that if there had been some clear large print signs, she would with her mental and physical faculties managed the walk without any passing assistance. Although, she thanked me profusely, she was a very independent soul, and she would probably have felt really satisfied to have been able to manage the walk unaided.

Surely outside an eye hospital, there will be quite a few people walking around, whose eyesight isn’t 20/20.

As I indicated in Is Silicon Roundabout Going To Become Silicon Peninsular, Transport for London are rethinking the Old Street Roundabout.

They have a unique opportunity to sort out the area for the visually impaired.


January 7, 2015 Posted by | Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Mansion Tax To Pay For 1,000 Nurses In Scotland

This is the front page headline in The Times. It is subtitled.

Labour targets southern England to woo north.

These headlines are based on a policy statement by Jim Murphy, the Scottish Labour Leader. The Times also says he didn’t clear it with Ed Miliband.

My house would probably not be worth enough to pay a mansion tax, although knowing politicians, they’d probably change the rules to make most houses in London and the South East pay the tax.

But I thought that the NHS in Scotland was devolved.

One thing I find, is that if I talk about the NHS to people in England and Scotland, those in places like London, Liverpool and East Anglia, are much more satisfied with prerformance than those north of the border.

January 6, 2015 Posted by | Health | , , , | 1 Comment

Improving Walking Routes To Football Stadia

I’m using football stadia as an example, but it could equally be any other important building, like a hospital or a museum, or any number of sporting venues.

The problem was brilliantly illustrated yesterday at Bournemouth, where I walked the obvious route to Dean Court, that I’d used twice before. But after seeing Bournemouth fans at Pokesdown station turning the other way, I thought there must be a better route. Stewards gave me directions to one, that was the other two sides of a quadrilateral, that was five minutes shorter.

A few signs are all that are needed, with perhaps a few metres of asphalt to make the walking easier.

At Ipswich, you come out of the station and you can see the ground. But there are also maps everywhere for the lost, although for visiting fans there isn’t any indication of where they should go. In this map, away fans go to the bottom right corner of the ground, which is the area of the ground you get to first as you walk up Portman Road.

Ipswich Station And Portman Road

Ipswich Station And Portman Road

Since this map was produced, the biggest improvement has been putting the Sir Bobby Robson Bridge across the river. This provides an important walking route between the south western parts of the town and the centre and the football ground.

Note that in this map, the station is indicated by the red arrow symbol, as they are in all the other maps.

There are a few groups in the Premier League and Championship  that have their own stops or are less than fifteen minutes from a rail, tube, tram or metro stop.

Arsenal – This has three stations at Arsenal, Finsbury Park and Highbury and Islington.

Aston Villa – The stations are Aston and Witton

Chelsea – Take your pick from Fulham Broadway, Imperial Wharf and West Brompton

Crystal Palace – Norwood Junction is five minutes away.

EvertonSandhills station and then the Soccerbus.

Hull City – There is a walking route from Hull station.

Liverpool – Sandhills station and then the Soccerbus.

Manchester City – Take the Metrolink to Etihad Campus.

So could the walking routes to other grounds in the top two divisions, particularly from the nearest rail station, be improved?

Birmingham City

The walking route from Bordesley station isn’t very long or difficult, as this map shows.

Bordesley Station And Birmingham City

Bordesley Station And Birmingham City

But it’s just downright dangerous, as there is no pedestrian route around Bordesley Circus. I wrote about it in this post; A Pedestrian Crossing From Hell.

I have heard from Birmingham City Council, who say that something is being done.

If you look at the map, you’ll see the Camp Hill Line passing at the side of the ground. If Birmingham City are ever successful and need to rebuild the ground, if feasible planning permission should include a station at the new stadium.

It is a long term aspiration of Birmingham City Council to open this line to passenger traffic. The way the tide is turning in favour of rail, I wouldn’t bet against this happening.


Ewood Park is a tricky ground to get to, as you have two stations in the town; Blackburn and Mill Hill.

I usually go to the ground by Blackburn, as I usually change trains for the area in Manchester, so that I can get a meal if I need one.

To get between the station and the ground, I normally use a bus, which isn’t as easy as it could be, as the information is rudimentary.

Mill Hill is nearer to the ground and walk-able, as this map shows.

Mill Hill Station And Ewood Park

Mill Hill Station And Ewood Park

But I think there are two problems with using Mill Hill.

To return to the station would be a walk up the hill.

But the main reason, I would not go to Mill Hill, is that I can’t get a direct train to that station from Manchester. As you have to change trains in Blackburn, I might. just as well get out there and catch a bus.


The preferred route to get to the ground is to take a train to Grangetown station, but Ninian Park station is nearer, but the trains aren’t so good.

Grangetown And Ninian Park Stations, And Cardiff City Stadium

Grangetown And Ninian Park Stations, And Cardiff City Stadium

All this might change when the local lines around Cardiff are electrified, as they seem to be improving stations.


Derby is an easy walk between Derby station and Pride Park, as the map shows.

Derby Station And Pride Park

Derby Station And Pride Park

I did get lost though, so I think a few more signposts would help, as would another light-controlled crossing on Derwent Parade.


I wasn’t sorry when Leicester City got promoted, as the walk to get to the stadium is not a short one.

Leicester Station And Stadia

Leicester Station And Stadia

I think it would be helped with some better signs. I generally take the road opposite the station and aim for Welford Road, I pass the rugby ground and you can see the King Power stadium.


This map shows Nottingham station and the two Nottingham football grounds; Meadow Lane and the City Ground.

Nottingham Station And The Football Grounds

Nottingham Station And The Football Grounds

I have walked between the station and the City Ground probably a dozen times and it’s flat and not a route that has many opportunities to get lost. But as the map shows, you walk alongside a waterway and surely access to this would make the walk more pleasant. It would also help if some improvements could be implemented at both ends of the route.

One thing that I’ve never had explained to me, is why are there no plans to serve the two football grounds and the cricket ground using the Nottingham tram.


I’ve always thought that getting from Wigan North Western station to the DW Stadium was very difficult, so I generally take a taxi. I’ve just looked at the map.

Wigan North Western And The DW Stadium

The distance isn’t great but it doesn’t appear to be signposted at all. Note that there is a canal and Wigan Pier, that could be on the route,so it could bring visitors to an area that the council is developing, into the Wigan Pier Quarter.

November 23, 2014 Posted by | Sport, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment