NURSING staff at a Hampshire hospital will be stopped from using its car park at certain times.

Managers want to encourage workers to use the park and ride near Compton on the edge of the city but health staff have contacted the Daily Echo to say this is impractical and unreasonable.

Managers say deterring staff parking at the Royal hampshire County Hospital in Winchester will free space for patients and their families and clinical staff who make use of their cars during the day.

But one nurse, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Currently we park on site and use permits but the car park isn’t checked, so you get people doing nine to five shifts parking on site. But nurses and doctors doing 12 and a half hour shifts shouldn’t be expected to use the park and ride.”

She added: “We never finish on time and sometimes we do shifts back to back. So there isn’t much rest time. Are we meant to stop what we are doing just so we can get to the park and ride on time?

“The car parks are badly managed. Our permits are for seven days a week but the new system will mean from Monday to Friday we will be expected to use park and ride.

“We will in future only be able to use the car park if we are working night shift or at weekends.”

The nurse said that they would need to leave home much earlier to get to the park and ride and it felt isolated and unsafe, especially for female staff.

Some staff said that they are considering leaving their jobs if the new rules were imposed.

The nurse said: “I think it will have a huge impact on Winchester hospital following the change. If it happens I will be thinking of getting another job too.”

Two other health workers have also complained to the Chronicle regarding the new parking rules.

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust chief executive Alex Whitfield said: “We are working hard to try to address the problems we face regarding car parking capacity for staff at RHCH. We encourage all staff to make use of park and ride and we pay for them to have free access to this service. We also provide a minibus service for staff between the hospital and the park and ride car parks in the evenings, when public buses are not available.

“In order to ensure that spaces at the hospital are available for patients, and for clinical staff who make frequent, short visits to the hospital during the working day, including those who work in the community, we have made a change to the qualifying criteria for a parking permit, bringing the start of what we term our core hours forward by 30 minutes to 7am.

“With park and ride buses now operating from 6.25am, staff beginning work at or after 7am can use this service, helping to ease parking pressure on the site. We will continue to review the arrangements.”

The Unison union was unavailable for comment.