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Hospital parking in need of first aid

If you have a hospital appointment, the safest first step is to phone the hospital and apologise for your upcoming lateness.

You will be late because you will do as I did and drive around aimlessly for a very long time before you find somewhere to leave your car.

Also, pack a cut lunch or generous snack. Males might like to pack a battery shaver.

Start with the official car park which can be accessed through the main entrance. Drive a winding tour past all the parking bays looking for a vacant park. Don’t be fooled by what you think is a space; it’s just that it is being used by a small car so, from where you are, you can’t see the boot sticking out.

When you are close enough to discover that spot is taken, you will utter a bad word. It’s good practice for the many more to come.

You will eventually tire of the car park circuit and venture wider afield. Start with the perimeter road and be warned that any vacant parks you see are 15-minute ones only so they’re not in contention.

After driving several circuits, you will realize you need to widen your search but be aware you may need to travel as far as a neighbouring province. Have more bad words ready. Perhaps stop on a 15-minute spot so you can unpack and enjoy your packed lunch.

Then, it’s time to get creative. You will need to crawl down streets radiating from the perimeter, many of which will offer what appear to be car parks but are in fact – as you will discover as you draw closer – driveways. More bad words.

By now your appointment is possibly a goner and you’ll be thinking outside the square. Driving to the countryside and then hiring a helicopter is not a silly option. If you haven’t already eaten your snack-pack, enjoy it while you wait for the helicopter and, if you brought the newspaper with you, have a crack at the crossword.

In the end, to honour my appointment, I resorted to parking illegally. I’ll offer no details because I don’t want to be the one responsible for starting a naughty trend. I need to make it clear, however, that my cheekiness did certainly not involve a handicapped parking spot.

As soon as I entered reception, I admitted my misdemeanour but was somewhat comforted by the response, “Yes, it’s hopeless, isn’t it. Don’t worry about it.”

Another hospital I have visited a few times has tried to solve the parking problem by heading skywards. From memory, there are close to 20 parking levels in the building, so you’ll drive round and round and round and round and up and up and up and up – oxygen will be thinning, and giddiness might kick in – until you eventually find a spot on the eighteenth level.

Then you must remember your colour-coded level or it could take the better part of a day to locate your vehicle. Write it down on a piece of paper [eg I’m on level 18 orange] but don’t leave your reminder note in the car.

This altitude system does not always work. On one of my visits there I was confronted by a notice at the entrance: Parking Full.

In that case it was a matter of reverting to the ever-increasing perimeter method used at the other hospital. And ultimately parking illegally.

Possibly the only sure way to get right to the business hub of the hospital is to travel by ambulance but that, of course, has its own disadvantages so I’m not willing to recommend it.

Best just stick with illegal parking.

    Wyn Drabble is a teacher of English, a writer, musician and public speaker.


  1. Wellington and Hutt hospitals had that problem 🙄 😒. They needed more parking 🙄 so demolished some buildings 👷‍♂️ said the money they would charge would only be to cover the parking building costs 🙄 😉. That was a LIE BECAUSE AFTER COSTS WERE MADE MANAGEMENT SAID INCOME FROM CHARGING WILL GO TOWARDS NURSING IMPLEMENTS 🙄 😉. JUST WAIT THERE IS SPACE TO BUILD A PARKING BUILDING KNOW 👷‍♂️ 😉.

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