I FELT it important to respond to the letter from Graham Murphy in last week’s Guardian (March 5), not least to ensure that the public don’t think we see car parking as a low order of priority issue – but more especially to set the record straight that there is no ‘scam’ here, and no issue related to making money.

Actually when people come to the hospital they are usually in an emotional or distressed state and it is a really poor start to their patient experience – and can affect their care; so we take it very seriously.

We have also considered making parking free, but the consequences of taking such a step is that it would worsen the problem not improve it.

Don’t underestimate how far people will go to avoid paying for parking.

I genuinely regret the problems you experienced but the situation is not helped either by the fact that there is limited public transport, people use the hospital as a ‘rat-run’ between Lovely Lane and Guardian Street and – to come to the crunch – demand has soared for numerous reasons covered in the wider media.

Of course, we are arguing for a new hospital and enjoying a lot of local support – but even if we achieve that it’s still at least a decade away and the parking issue is more pressing.

So we very much want to do something sooner rather than later.

Consequently we have had work done to evaluate the cost of a car park (an eye-watering £10 million) and we have submitted a request to borrow money to fund it (alongside seeking permission to take out loans to fund other ‘interim improvements’ I should add).

But, like many other trusts, we are already facing enormous funding challenges with demand massively outstripping resources – so I cannot make any promises.

But I hope at least it is of some comfort to understand that your concerns and issues in this area (as you reflect many other people) are not dismissed as unimportant.

STEVE MCGUIRK Chairman Warrington and Halton Teaching Hospitals