HUGE levels of traffic congestion at a major Scottish hospital have led to serious issues for Ambulances trying to gain access to the site. 

NHS Lothian said the situation at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh had become 'unstainable' and have re-introduced the free parking permit scheme in response. 

The scheme at the Little France campus, which was suspended during the first lockdown of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be reinstated next year amid safety concerns around growing levels of congestion and queueing traffic on the site.

There have reportedly been tailbacks of up to three miles on some occasions. 

There has been a huge demand for spaces in the car parks at the site, which also now includes the new Sick Kids hospital.


Jim Crombie, Deputy Chief Executive of NHS Lothian, said the site was unable to sustain the sheer volume of cars that arrive each day.

“The decision to re-introduce free staff car parking permits has been carefully considered and planned over recent months and is not a decision that was taken lightly," he said.

“We have been experiencing significant congestion across the Little France campus which cannot be sustained. It causes delays to patients, visitors and staff and for the buses which are essential to service the hospital.

“Critically, however, it also causes serious issues for our blue light services which must be able to travel through the hospital site at all times.

“We will continue to engage with our staff throughout this process.”

NHS Lothian is actively investigating additional long-term solutions, and discussions are ongoing around the implementation of a dedicated park and ride at Shawfair.

In the meantime, a temporary car park, which will provide an additional 250 spaces will be available in January.

Staff are also being urged to consider car-share schemes.

Staff who are interested in a permit are being asked to apply for the permit scheme, which will go live on January 17.

Staff who are already in possession of a staff parking permit will be able to use their current permit for one year.

Tracy Anne Miller, RIE Partnership Lead, NHS Lothian, said: “These next steps are essential. The site cannot cope with the levels of congestion we are experiencing.

"We will continue to engage with staff directly and help ensure they have equitable access to the scheme.”

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