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Burton's Queen's Hospital under pressure to provide free parking for 'priority' patients

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 26, 2014

By Rich Guttridge

Comments (3)

SOME patients at Burton's Queen's Hospital could be spared from having to pay to park after the Government insisted free or greatly reduced prices must be made available for 'priority groups'.

The announcement will come as a relief to regular visitors to Queen's Hospital. Many have struggled to get their heads around the site's payment system, resulting in scores of fines.

The Mail was inundated with complaints in the months following the introduction of the Parking Eye system, with dozens of people complaining they had been unfairly penalised.

But under plans announced by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, hospitals across the country will be forced to waive fines for visitors who have a legitimate reason for running over the allotted time, such as treatment taking longer than expected.

Having to pay to park at hospitals is a thorny issue among many.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said parking charges placed an "added stress" on families at what is already a difficult time.

Burton MP Andrew Griffiths welcomed the move and called on Queen's bosses to "follow the guidance".

He said: "As one of the MPs calling for this reform, I really welcome the fact the Health Secretary is acting to prevent people from unfair and excessive car parking charges.

"One of my biggest postbags this year was over the car park at Queen's Hospital and I fully understand the frustrations and worry that excessive car parking charges cause.

"I would now urge the chief executive at Queen's to look at this guidance and see what can be done to provide free parking spaces for the disabled, elderly and people who are regular visitors."

Outlining his plan, Mr Hunt said: "Patients and families shouldn't have to deal with the added stress of unfair parking charges.

"These clear ground rules set out our expectations and will help the public hold the NHS to account for unfair charges or practices."

Charities including Macmillan Cancer Care also backed the plans.

Parking charges were the most common reason for patient complaints at UK hospitals last year.

It was revealed earlier this month that the trust which runs Burton's hospital raked in an extra £200,000 from parking fees during 2013-14.

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3 comments

  • Best Speakeer  |  September 02 2014, 9:33AM

    The Burton Mail must be praised for its coverage of Hospital Parking, and must take some of the credit for influencing Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary. It is certainly time that he did something about hospital parking. He advises that - Contracts should not be let on any basis that incentivises fines, eg 'income from penalties only'. The system at the Burton Hospitals uses this system. According to the Chief Executive, in a letter to me, parking at a hospital is the same if you had parked in any other car park, of course it is not; at other car parks you have choice, but you do not at a hospital when rushing in an injured or sick person, or visiting a dying relative, does she live on the same planet as the rest of us? And she constantly refers to Parking Penalty Notices, which the British Parking Association forbids its members t use , as it implies criminality - only the police and local authorities can issue these. It is PARKING CHARGE NOTICES, (an invoice), that ParkingEye issues. This bullying and intimidating wording has been the basis of many complaints when complaining about these contractors. Then there is the NHS Constitution, its first words are 'The NHS belongs to the people' and NHS SERVICES are free of charge . . .' also, 'Patients come first in everything we do .... Individual organisations will develop and build upon these values.' Clearly, by the very way it operates, ParkingEye cannot comply with the constitution. Please lobby your MP with your suggestions - do not let Hunt's guidance fall by the way-side!

  • BMPA_EU  |  August 27 2014, 7:42AM

    If you get a Parking Charge, then appeal it all the way to POPLA (Google it). If you get a Court claim from ParkingEye related to this, then acknowledge and defend (Form N9). Also contact the Patient Liason to get it cancelled. They can as it is in the contract with ParkingEye

  • mattlong  |  August 26 2014, 9:27AM

    There's certainly a moral argument to be made for making ALL patient parking free at our hospital. Can visiting a sick relative really be compared to going to Sainsbury's to do the shopping? The latter gives the individual some notion of choice - the power to decide when to go and which car park to use and so on - whereas the former is a given due to circumstances. There is only one car park at Queens and people in a sense don't wake up arbitrarily and 'choose' to go. This important practical and moral distinction has become lost due to the increasing marketization of society.

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