COLCHESTER General Hospital could scrap the barriers at its car park after patients complained of missed appointments due to queues.

Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust is investigating alternative arrangements, which could be in place by spring.

Parking fees will still be charged.

A hospital spokesman said: “We are investigating options for improvements, which include replacing the barrier entry system with a barrier-less arrangement to improve the flow of vehicles.

“We are aware on weekday afternoons, when visiting coincides with outpatient clinics, it is not always easy to find a free space in our public car park.”

The barriers cause a problem because they do not open if the car park is full, resulting in queues.

They also intermittently break down, resulting in lost revenue and motorists driving around an already full car park.

At busy periods, the hospital opens 40 spaces for public parking in a staff car park.

Sue Lissimore, a member of Essex County Council’s health committee, had to phone to cancel her physiotherapy appointment while sitting in a queue just outside the hospital last month.

She said: “I was left in a ludicrous situation where I could see where I was meant to be, but I couldn’t get there.

“I had to call my physiotherapist and say ‘I can see you. I’m here, but I’m already late, so there’s no point in me coming’.”

“Barrier-free parking will certainly help.”

The number of public spaces is reduced at the moment while a £25million radiotherapy cancer centre is built between the main hospital building and Gainsborough Wing.

There will be 80 more parking spaces when the project is completed in the early spring.

Mrs Lissimore said: “I’ve been to the hospital and the barrier has not been working, which has led to incredible tailbacks.

“As for more parking being available, that’s great, but people can’t get access to it if they’re stuck sitting on Turner Road, so hopefully it will have a meaningful effect.”

She said has asked representatives from the hospital to attend a meeting of the health committee in Chelmsford in March to