HC Deb 02 July 1997 vol 297 cc201-2W
Mr. McGrady

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what representations she has received in respect of the recent introduction of car parking charges at the Royal Group of Hospitals in Belfast; and if she will make a statement. [5409]

Mr. Worthington

Representations have been received from the hon. and learned Member for North Down (Mr. McCartney) and the hon. Member for South Down (Mr. McGrady), some local councils and the Trade Unions. The need to expand the car parking facilities has been driven by the loss of some 500 spaces subsumed by the planned development scheme. The Royal Group of Hospitals and Dental Hospitals Health and Social Services Trust considered that the private finance route was the only feasible option to expand and improve the car parking facilities. The Trust thinks that the imposition of a car parking charge is preferable to diverting resources from the provision of patient care. Discussions have taken place with the Trade Union side and I am hopeful that the situation will be resolved to the benefit of patients and staff and all those involved in this matter.