PLANS to prevent gridlock outside Basildon Hospital could be in place by the summer.

A park-and-ride service for hospital staff could be launched by the autumn, if staff give it the green light.

Bosses have hired a parking expert to spend six to eight weeks working out how best to alleviate parking woes which bring traffic to a standstill on Nethermayne on a regular basis.

The Echo previously revealed 300 fed-up workers were fined for inconsiderate parking, in just two months.

They said they had no option but to block in other colleagues as there are only 650 spaces for visitors and 4,600 staff.

Hospital chief executive Clare Panniker is in talks with a landowner who has space to park cars.

She said: “There are places quite locally that have space that people would be willing to sell us. My view would be to focus on people who work core office hours who don’t need their car during the day and aren’t working unsociable hours.

“I want to protect the clinician staff and look at who we can help to park elsewhere.

“Demand for the car park has gone up from when we first finished it a few years ago. Now on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday it is completely full.

We have more parking spaces than other hospitals, but we are not really encouraging people to use alternative transport.”

Smaller ideas also in the offing include installing secure bicycle and motorcycle sheds.

Already traffic lights are scheduled to be installed before the hospital roundabout on the A13 end of Nethermayne in June.

Plans are also afoot to widen Nethermayne and Basildon Hospital is considering widening its road from the car park to the roundabout. Essex County Council has yet to commit to a timescale to carry out the work, which would install two lanes on the northbound carriageway between the hospital roundabout and Roundacre roundabout.

Ms Panniker added: “We would have to consult staff, but we want to have some plans in place before the Nethermayne widening work goes on.

“Anything that requires building or planning takes time, but something like a park can be done quickly."