Parking problems have resurfaced at the north’s flagship hospital.
Several vehicles were spotted parked up on grassy embankments at Raigmore Hospital’s car park recently as patients and visitors struggled to find spaces.
And one heavily pregnant woman who travelled 45 miles from Dornoch for an appointment was forced to walk the length of the car park to get to the entrance.
Her fiance Ross Lindsey said: “They need to put some sort of system in place to ensure that the car park is being used solely by hospital visitors. This is clearly an issue that has been plaguing folk from all round the Highlands and Islands.”
An NHS Highland spokeswoman said: “We can only apologise for the distress this has caused them whilst attending Raigmore Hospital. It certainly is not the experience we want our patients to have.”
Calls were previously made to bring back the old charging scheme which meant drivers would pay £1 on their way out of the facility, amid concerns that drivers not using the hospital were abusing the free car park.
But the NHS spokeswoman said the Scottish Government decided in 2008 that parking charges were scrapped for patients, visitors and staff at hospitals across the country.
She admitted there were “significant challenges” with parking at Raigmore Hospital. But she said work is still on hold to build two new overspill car parks for which planning permission exists, due to financial pressures across the organisation.
She said NHS Highland will continue to manage the car park as “best as we can” by looking at outpatient appointments and, where possible, holding appointments via video conferencing on tele-consultation to reduce the number of people coming to the site.
She added: “We are actively seeking solutions to this ongoing issue.”