A CITY hospital is to boost patient and visitor parking following a pledge of up to £10 million by businessman Sir Ian Wood.
The sum offered to Aberdeen’s Foresterhill campus marks one of the largest single charitable donations ever made to the NHS in Scotland.
The Wood Foundation, set up by Sir Ian and his family, has earmarked the cash for the construction of a multi-storey car park with a minimum of 1,000 spaces at the site of Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and the local children’s and maternity hospitals.
The retired Wood Group chief executive and multi-millionaire said friends and relatives had been left distressed by the parking situation at Foresterhill in the past.
Sir Ian said: “We are very aware of the anxiety and frustration caused by inadequate car parking at our hospital which will be even more acute with the new hospital facilities currently under development.
“While public transport to the hospital is being improved, for many from across the north east the car is the only solution to get them to appointments or visits.
“My wife Helen has championed this project within the Wood Foundation because she has, for some time, been concerned by the distress felt by friends and family when trying to park their cars while attending for treatment or visiting loved ones in what is already a stressful situation.
“With every pound of public funding badly-needed for the care of people in the city and Aberdeenshire, we are pleased to be able to support a project which will not take money away from frontline services but will greatly improve the access to facilities for those visiting the hospital.”
NHS Grampian has welcomed the offer of funding for the project, which has still to be approved by the board.
If the car park gets the go-ahead, work could get under way in early 2016.
Board chairman Professor Stephen Logan said: “Coming to hospital for treatment or to visit a loved one is already an anxious time and I know the stress of trying to find a parking space adds to that unnecessarily.
“This generous support will enable us to enhance the experience for members of the public visiting the site, without diverting funds from frontline care.
“I am very grateful to Lady Helen Wood for her personal support for this project.”
Since it was established in March 2007 the Wood Foundation has supported projects in Scotland, Rwanda and Tanzania.