TRAFFIC issues around Basildon Hospital will not be solved by a planned park and ride service, residents have argued.

Patients and staff have struggled to get to and from the hospital quickly due to traffic problems nearby, which have also left ambulances on blue lights facing delays when attempting to get to A&E.

Proposals have now been submitted to Basildon Council to build a park and ride in the town, which would see the removal of employee parking at the hospital.

This would mean that staff at the hospital would be required to use the park and ride.

But residents are frustrated at the plans, and argue nurses and doctors who “sometimes work 12-hour shifts”, should not be asked to get the bus home.

One resident said there is a constant bottleneck at the hospital entrance, causing “bumper to bumper traffic”, leaving on-call ambulances stranded.

It is also claimed the standstill traffic is leading to children being late for school and causing patients to be late for appointments.

Other drivers called for more car parks nearby instead of a new park and ride.

Gavin Callaghan, leader of Basildon Council, responded to the claims.

He said: “The traffic is awful. I totally agree.

“The good news is that I took a report to the council to look at how we can get a park and ride option for the town centre, which will help clear up a lot of the traffic going up to the hospital by removing employee cars and getting them into the park and ride.

“On top of that, I’m offering space in the town centre [for] any service at the hospital that isn’t an emergency - things like blood test, ultrasounds or dermatology.

“They can be done in the town centre and we don’t have to have people in cars heading to the hospital campus for those treatments.”

The leader implied the ongoing Dry Street development is to blame for the traffic in the area, adding: “This is in large part why we were against the Dry Street development until more infrastructure was put in to help with the road network.

“This wasn’t done by Essex County Council and we are all paying the price.

“Once we are out of Essex County Council we can take full control of the roads and we will be able to do even more.”

A Basildon Hospital spokesman said: “We know parking can be very difficult for our patients and visitors and are actively exploring solutions to resolve this, however there will always be demand for more spaces than we can supply.”