In response to feedback from patients and visitors, a gated parking system was implemented at Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital (SMGH) on February 16th.
The SMGH Foundation board of directors approved the move to the new system based on recommendations from an assessment review of the pay and display model completed last year.
The move has been welcomed by those who see it as being more user-friendly for patients and visitors.
The system is very similar to ones used at London hospitals. Visitors take a ticket when they drive through a gate into the parking lot, then take that ticket with them into the hospital and pay at a machine outside the front entrance before returning to their vehicle. A paid ticket allows easy exit from the parking lot.
Visitors can now pay for exactly the amount of time they use and not have to return to their vehicle to purchase more parking if they are at the hospital longer than expected.
Parking rates remain unchanged at $2 per hour with the $5 daily, and $15 weekly pass options. Another new benefit of the system is the option to purchase a 10-visit pre-loaded pass card where one in and out transaction equals one visit. The passes can be purchased at one of the automated pay machines or at the parking office.
“Parking provides a very important source of revenue that supports patient care, which is why the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care expects hospitals to charge for parking to help offset the cost of delivering services,” said Susan McLean, CEO of the SMGH Foundation.
“The funds raised through parking fees directly support patient care at the hospital.”
The cost to implement the new system has been managed by Precise ParkLink Inc. The hospital will also receive the additional benefit of Precise ParkLink’s Community Champions program, when visitors and staff pay for parking with a MasterCard, a donation is made to support the hospital.
“We are committed to bringing cutting edge technology, performance and reliability to parking at the hospital. The gated system offers many different options for visitors, a number of hospitals across the country have installed this same style of system and people seem to appreciate the flexibility it provides,” says Peter Groccia, President of Precise ParkLink Inc.
Precise has hired a number of employees from Strathroy and area to work as gate ambassadors, assisting users to learn how to use the new system during the first few weeks of implementation. These employees will be offered other opportunities within the company as they become available.