Dorset County Hospital Multi-Storey Car Park
Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Proactive engagement with stakeholders helped to deliver a solution-focused parking and wayfinding project.
Dorset County Hospital’s (DCH) car park plan was integral to its whole strategic estates masterplan and so the delivery of every Trust project for the next 10 years rested on the success of this scheme.
Prime understands the importance of getting stakeholders on-board in transformative projects that offer real change. And it was this knowledge and commitment that proved pivotal during the planning process for a new multi-storey car park (MSCP) at DCH.
With too few parking spaces for patients, staff and visitors and a confusing layout, the hospital was congested and finding a space was difficult. Initially, our plans for the 654-space MSCP and wayfinding project were met with cautious optimism by town planners. It was on a sloping site next to a conservation area and overlooked an Area of Natural Beauty that surrounded half the town.
The council was wrestling with longstanding traffic issues in Dorchester and, with plans for a park and ride on the edge of town unviable, it was important to deliver a long-term solution for everyone. By using Prime’s experience of stakeholder consultations, a strategy for engagement was developed to promote the MSCP and wider hospital masterplan to staff, visitors, patients and the whole community.
This was achieved through proactive communication and engagement co-ordinated by Prime, where councillors could see the many benefits of the project. A public consultation guided the design of the MSCP to ensure the green landscape was retained, while Prime helped to set up an online Register of Support, led by two clinicians at the hospital. Prime liaised closely with the Trust throughout this process to win the backing of key stakeholders, while three local MPs wrote independently in support of the scheme.
This strategy of clear, structured communication helped fast-track the project by speeding up development and removing barriers. And the issue of barriers – quite literally – was addressed to help the Trust solve their parking issue. By moving their current pay and display system to a pay-on-exit management system, the new MSCP increases income for the Trust, while patients will only pay for the time they are parked. Increased disabled parking, cycle access and improved motorcycle parking also contribute to this once-in-a-generation opportunity to reconfigure the hospital in line with the masterplan.
On top of resolving the existing issues around parking, Prime was on hand to support the Trust with their business case. Communications with NHSI were led by the Trust and Prime supported them with modelling and analysis where necessary, meaning the project was approved at board level and the first step of the Trust’s masterplan could be successfully implemented.