By Eleanor Bradford
BBC Scotland Health correspondent
Staff at the Western General often have to park elsewhere
It's nearly a year since hospital car parking charges were abolished in Scotland.
Last December, the SNP made it free to park your car in any Scottish hospital, except the Royal Infirmaries of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Ninewells hospital in Dundee, where car parks were built under private finance.
However, is there a downside to this popular policy? Residents near Edinburgh's Western General are certainly unhappy.
Since charges were abolished at the hospital, the car park has been constantly full and staff have resorted to parking in nearby residential streets.
One report in a local newspaper said an angry local had poured acid on several vehicles, including a doctor's car, although Lothian police told me no official complaint had been made.
The ward of Labour councillor Lesley Hinds covers the area around the Western General. She said: "I am aware that the health board now have had, I think, over 70 complaints in the first three months of the free car parking being brought into the Western General site, where as before they had no complaints at all.
"In the surrounding areas there is some controlled parking so that does control it for some of the residents, but there are some areas where residents are finding that people are coming and parking in front of their driveways.
"If they go out they often can't get back in and so there is a real problem with living in the area next to the hospital."
Chairwoman of a local residents association Tricia Atkinson said: "We have 47 spaces here for 63 flats and a lot of people even have two cars and so we have a permit system that operates fairly well.
"But the trouble is in the morning when they go out to work there are spaces and folk from the Western come and park here.
"They shouldn't be doing it, the car park is not for the Western."
It's an issue the British Parking Association is also concerned about.
They've suggested a voluntary code of practice for hospitals who want to charge patients, rather than an outright ban.
A spokesperson said: "Car parks need to be physically maintained, somebody somewhere has to pay.
"Charges were not introduced to generate income but rather to ensure that key staff, bona fide patients and visitors are able to park at the hospital.
"Without income to support car park maintenance - security, upkeep of facilities and staff - funds which should be dedicated to healthcare have to be used instead."
Lothian health board has already had to employ wardens to police the overcrowded car park at the Western General, and is now paying for five new car parks to be built.
It's spending £60,000 a month managing car parking across all its sites - money which used to be raised through charges but which now has to come from the budget for patient care.
Despite the problems finding a space, abolishing parking fees was still popular amongst the patients I spoke to.
Jeanette Graham said: "I think the parking situation in the Western is not adequate but I am glad that it is free because it costs an awful lot of money to park your car for a length of time to visit anyone or to go on your shift then to have to pay for your parking. I'm glad that it has been stopped."
Elaine Hands said: "I am glad the Western has been made free car parking and I understand in the [nearby] housing estate the residents will be very irritated that they can't park because there is a spill from the Western. I think it affects the shops, local community and sets individuals against each other and it is unnecessary."
A spokeswoman for the Scottish government said: "The Scottish government abolished car parking charges in NHS-run hospital car parks because they were effectively an unfair tax on ill-health.
"It is important that hospital car parks are managed to ensure they are not misused by commuters or shoppers.
"Health boards all have car park management plans to ensure the needs of patients, visitors and staff are balanced. These include measures such as time limits, swipe cards or tokens for staff or staff-only areas.
"We expect all NHS boards to have travel plans in place and to work with local authorities and transport providers to ensure that health services are supported by good public transport links."