02 May 2017

Three hospitals within the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust have recently received new world-leading parking systems from DESIGNA, to update and improve the service for patients, visitors and staff.

North Tyneside General Hospital (NTGH) and the new Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital (NSECH) have both been installed with DESIGNA’s advanced ABACUS Parking system with automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), which includes entrance and exit barriers and new pay-on-foot terminals, which contribute to a quicker process and more control for the Trust’s facilities team.

The two sites, located approximately seven miles apart, are both connected to one server using a VPN over the internet which simplifies the data and access for the Trust in one centralised base.

A third installation at Wansbeck General Hospital has also been added and will go live in May 2017. This makes it three hospitals controlled from one location from the one server.

The Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust made the decision to replace its previous parking system at the North Tyneside General Hospital to offer an easier and friendlier parking process. DESIGNA’s ABACUS system replaces an aging barrier system which was becoming unreliable and difficult for users. The new installation at the hospital, which has over 500 spaces across four car parks, two of which are reserved for staff parking, 

comprise seven new robust entrance and exit barriers, each supported by ANPR cameras, as well as three new pay-on-foot terminals in the same locations.

The installation at the new NSECH followed shortly after, with five entrance and exit barriers and ANPR cameras, and two pay stations being installed across three car parks, which also offers over 500 spaces for staff, visitors and patients.

There will be similar equipment quantities, functionality and layout at Wansbeck General Hospital.

Owen Cusack, Estate and Facilities Deputy Director at the Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust commented, “We came to notice that our previous barrier system was aging and starting to fail, and so decided that it would be more beneficial to have an advance and intuitive system that could provide us with better data. After going to tender, we found DESIGNA met both our needs, as well as the needs of our patients, visitors and staff, which was a key consideration when selecting the equipment. The new pay-on-foot system is a particularly great benefit as it is much easier and simpler for our visitors and patients and helps with their overall experience at the hospitals.”

He continued, “Another key feature of DESIGNA’s system which contributed to our overall decision is their 4-way ticket reading capability. With this, our patients, most often elderly, and visitors can insert their ticket into the machine in any direction and it will always be read. It is often the case that tickets must be inserted a specific way round which can lead to confusion and hold ups at ticket terminals. With this eliminated we hope that our patients and visitors find it much easier and quicker. The overall feedback on the systems has been very positive and we are very pleased with the operations and benefits it gives us.”

The new pay-on-foot terminals have significantly improved the parking service for visitors and patients having replaced the previous Pay & Display system. This meant that patients were pre-paying for tickets according to the hourly tariff and were restricted to keeping within their chosen time. The new and much simpler system requires visitors or patients to retrieve their ticket upon entry and pay before leaving using any of the terminals. This means that the payment is charged according to the amount of time each person has spent and eliminates the worry of their parking ticket expiring.

The ANPR cameras are also a great benefit to the Trust as it allows them to track and store data of all cars that visit the car parks, including cars of staff, whilst also significantly speeding up the traffic flow in and out of the car park. The camera data also helps the Trust to retrieve information in the case of lost tickets, which prevents visitors or patients needing to pay the maximum fee, as it can identify the time each vehicle has entered the car park.

The parking server resides in North Tyneside General Hospital (NTGH) and the database is edited on this. All three sites have work stations which connect to the central server to check whether the plates or cards are registered and allow the staff to enter/exit from the car park.

DESIGNA has been successfully included in the Trust’s framework agreement and looks forward to working with the Trust for many years to come. DESIGNA has a strong reputation for parking systems for the NHS due to their reliability and extensive functionality and has several installations across the UK including Luton & Dunstable Hospital, Southampton General Hospital, Pinderfields and Pontefract Hospital.

The company has developed a reputation for its high quality and intelligent systems, having installed over 15,000 parking systems worldwide. ABACUS is one of DESIGNA’s leading innovations that demonstrate the many possibilities associated with parking systems. Designed to be future-proof, ABACUS can be adapted to future technologies, which will allow additional systems to be added to the server without the need for a whole new system, proving to be a great investment overall.