COLCHESTER Hospital is getting better. From being in a critical condition when it was thrown into special measures, the prognosis is now considerably brighter.

Work has started on a new cancer centre, it has a Time Garden which offers peace and respite for terminally ill patients and the protracted transfer of services from Essex County Hospital has now been achieved.

The merger with Ipswich Hospital has been smoother than perhaps anticipated - although the devil will be in the detail when the full picture on services becomes clearer.

But one thing which needs urgent attention is the hospital and walk-in centre’s parking which is truly awful.

Stage one: The car park was extended.

All good.

Stage two: Modern technology was introduced to make the entrances and exits smoother.

Not so smooth.

Patients and their families have reported continual problems with barriers down and pay machines not functioning.

Go to the hospital at any hour of any day and chances are high you will see a queue of people waiting to pay for parking.

There are too few machines and they are too unreliable.

Going to hospital is stressful for patients and their families and to have to endure yet more stress over paying for parking is unnecessary and unhelpful.

We’ll leave the rights and wrongs of having to pay for another day.

But Colchester Hospital must get this small detail right to make the hospital experience a whole lot easier.