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Chief Executive’s Comments Show Lack of Understanding

Media Releases

State Member for Wallsend, Ms Sonia Hornery MP, has called for Hunter New England Health Chief Executive, Mr Michael DiRienzo, to walk a mile in the shoes of his hospital staff and visitors, following comments regarding parking and congestion issues.

Mr DiRienzo showed a complete lack of understanding and empathy for staff and visitors yesterday, when commenting on possible solutions for traffic congestion. Fixing the timing of traffic lights and having traffic turn right from a congested single lane exit point will do little, if anything, to alleviate the traffic congestion.

Ms Hornery has called on Mr DiRienzo to reconsider the options, including a user pays park and ride service, as possible short term solutions during the construction phase.

Quotes attributable to Member for Wallsend, Sonia Hornery

“Mr DiRienzo’s comments show a complete lack of understanding of the issues staff and visitors face on a daily basis.”

“The current lack of parking already has staff parking on residential streets around the Hospital or further up Lookout Road and McCaffrey Drive. The construction of the Bypass will eliminate many of those parking spots, along with the ‘minimal’ loss of internal car parks during hospital construction and staff and visitors will have absolutely no where to park.”

“The internal road and the major arterial roads are already at capacity during peak hour and they will be significantly impacted during the construction of the Bypass. There will be hundreds of tradies and construction staff travelling to the area to work on the Bypass and the Hospital upgrade, and there will be hundreds of truck movements into and out of the local road network. That will have an impact on traffic flow.”

“The Park and Ride service that operated previously was very effective, and while there was a cost, that could be almost mitigated with the implementation of a user pays system. It previously took up to 750 vehicle movements off the internal road network per day and freed up hundreds of parking spots for staff and visitors.”

“With some of those vehicles removed, especially at peak periods, the impact can only benefit road users.”

“Mr DiRienzo needs to stop thinking about his hip pocket, stop being concerned at the loss of revenue he is making from paid parking, and worry about the impact traffic delays are having on his staff and the visitors to the Hospital precinct.”

“Staff who have worked all day on their feet, caring for the sick, shouldn’t be forced to wait upwards of an hours to exit the Hospital precinct. Maybe Mr DiRienzo would like to give up his prime parking spot for a month and park where regular staff park and see the problems they experience on a daily basis.”

“It is obvious that despite the warning signs, despite the repeated attempts by myself and staff to warn about the looming delays the construction of the Bypass and the Hospital upgrade will have on the local road network, Hunter New England Health are going to keep their heads buried in the sand and dismiss all options there are to fix the problem.”

“To simply dismiss the options while acknowledging there is a major congestion problem is a slap in the face to staff and visitors. Mr DiRienzo should reconsider the options available to him.”