A NEW car parking system will come into operation at Hexham General Hospital next week.

The new system, introduced by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation trust, will allow patients and visitors to pay when they are leaving the hospital, rather than when they park their cars.

This means people will only be charged for the time they have been parked, and will not need to renew their parking ticket if their time is running low.

Upon the launch of the new system, there will also be more options to pay with credit and debit cards as well as coins and notes.

Gillian Messenger, matron at Hexham hospital, said: “Patients and the public told us that they prefer systems where they can pay on exit and also that it was important to be able to pay by card so the new system works on this basis.”

Those using the hospital car parks from Tuesday, December 11 will be given a ticket to raise the barrier to gain entry to the car park. They will then use this ticket to pay at a pay station before leaving.

Charges will remain at £1.20 per hour, up to a maximum of £4, for a 24-hour period. There will be no charge for patients and visitors wishing to park for up to 40 minutes, and blue (disabled) badge holders will continue to receive free parking.

Free parking will continue to be provided in a number of circumstances such as patients attending for cancer treatment and the visitors of long-stay patients.