Northumbria Health Care Trust, UK

Future proof of the parking access & revenue control system

The Trust have replaced the existing PARCS at four large NHS hospital sites, across 23 miles.

In 2015 the Northumbria Healthcare began a new initiative at four of their hospital in the north east of England. The Trust have replaced the existing PARCS at four large NHS hospital sites, across 23 miles. The new DESIGNA ABACUS technology has replaced an old Pay & Display system and allowed these car parks to be networked and controlled from 1 server based in a central control room managing over 1,800+ parking spaces and from where all intercom calls are centrally answered.

The challenge

The primary goals for the Northumbria Healthcare project were improved parking service for visitors, patients and staff. A central database for all users to implement a single parking policy across the whole trust. Increased operational efficiencies, better use of staff required at each site, improved management of validations for Blue Badge holders and compliance with NHS guidelines for validations for patient groups. All with a solution that would be state of the art and future proof.

The solution

The new system and equipment include: ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) for both Visitor and Staff Parking, Staff RFID easy Parking, Centralised database, 4 way reading of tickets, intercom with driver camera, numerous payment options including contactless, centralised reporting and the ability to add further car parks and sites to the system.


Phase one of the NHCT project began in 2015 with North Tyneside General Hospital installed as the central hub and further phases followed to implement at the other sites. The trust are continuously adding additional sites to the DESIGNA PARCS solution

The Feedback

One of the major considerations in the decision-making process for choosing a partner for the new PARCS was an advanced and intuitive system that could provide the trust with better data.

Owen Cusack, Deputy Director Estates & Facilities NHCFT & NHFML, said: "We noticed that our previous barrier system was aging and starting to fail. After going to tender, we found DESIGNA met our needs and those of our patients, visitors and staff. The new pay-on-foot system is much easier and simpler for our visitors and patients and helps with their overall experience at the hospitals.

A key feature of DESIGNA's system that contributed to our overall decision is their 4-way ticket reading capability. 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 the 4- way ticket, our patients, most often elderly, and visitors can insert their ticket into the machine in any direction and it will always be read. With this problem eliminated we hope that our patients and visitors find it much easier and quicker. The use of ANPR cameras allows the trust to track and store data on all cars that visit the car parks, including cars belonging to staff. The use of ANPR is also significantly speeding up the traffic flow in and out of the car park

The camera data also lets the trust 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.

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