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Charges for disabled are blatantly unfair - MP

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: April 15, 2013

  • 22/03/13 Hospital car park pic - Burton's Queen's Hospital, Belvedere Rd, Burton Queens Hospital - Staff Car Park

Comments (14)

BURTON’S MP has launched a scathing attack on the town’s Queen’s Hospital over its controversial decision to introduce parking charges for the disabled, revealing he is to launch a campaign in a bid to stop it.

Hospital chiefs came under fire when it was revealed in February that the charges were to be brought in for blue badge holders and now MP Andrew Griffiths has waded into the row, calling the policy ‘blatantly unfair’.

The hospital insisted the changes were introduced to make the parking system fair for everyone and to ensure that the ‘creation and maintenance’ of parking spaces did not impact on finances needed to fund patient care.

But a furious Mr Griffiths told the Mail: “I have major concerns about the impact this is going to have on disabled people at the hospital.”

Mr Griffiths said he was in the process of developing a ‘big campaign’.

He continued: “It seems to me to be blatantly unfair. It’s free to park everywhere else but are being made to pay at the hospital when they need it most. It just seems perverse.

“For the amount of money it’s going to raise for the hospital I would be interested to know whether it would be worth the upset and aggravation caused.”

The hospital insists that the changes, which also include the relocation of the disabled spaces closer to the entrance, have had a positive impact.

Geoff Neild, head of facilities, said “We recognise that the introduction of charges for blue badge holders is a sensitive and contentious issue.

“A positive outcome of the changes is that there are now sufficient allocated blue badge spaces available at most times of the day. Those with genuine mobility and access issues should now more routinely be able to secure an allocated space close to the hospital.”

However, Adrian Wedgwood, of Barton under Needwood, a regular at hospital board meetings, struggled to find any positives from the changes.

He said: “It’s not the impression I get. They weren’t that far away from the entrance anyway and nobody else went into that car park. The fact that they are slightly nearer really is academic.”

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  • Burhan  |  April 25 2013, 11:14AM

    Agree with ReaderW. @spitfireking - yes, money has to come from somewhere but they don't need to vulnerable patients - whats about 79 members of staff earning more than 100K/annum. Why are they paying the finance director almost £200,000 per year in salary? whilst the chif exective only gets £140,000

  • spitfireking  |  April 22 2013, 1:46PM

    Paying to park at a hospital is wrong; it takes advantage of people who are in a vulnerable state (either patient or visitor). Yet the car parks needs to be maintained so where does the money come from? Which would you prefer reduce the number of nurses / doctors / other hospital staff or charge for usage but on a not for profit basis?

  • ReaderW  |  April 22 2013, 12:42PM

    A persons disability does not indicate an inability to pay for parking. If hospital parking charges are immoral, they are immoral for all people being charged. Disabled people who have blue badges should not be exempt from parking charges as the badge is to allow parking closer to buildings, not to afford free parking.

  • cetone  |  April 20 2013, 3:43AM

    There should be no parking fees whatever at Hospitals,Or any public car park,installed at public expense,It is just GREED.

  • burtonbloke1  |  April 17 2013, 2:10PM

    Bit ironic, our MP campaigning against these charges when his masters are savaging anyone on benefits. My understanding is that Queens are obliged to make year on year savings from their budget. They are also under pressure to improve services (New cardiac unit and the running costs)while accommodating a huge influx of immigrants. As Cameron keeps telling us "we're all in this together" and "the money has to come from somewhere".

  • adrianwedgwood  |  April 17 2013, 12:02AM

    Charging genuine blue badge holders for parking at hospitals in Burton, Lichfield & Tamworth is an additional unwelcome burden on those who are often cared for by full time unpaid relatives or pensioners on fixed incomes whose lives have been devastated by the debilitating illness and additional costs of looking after a loved one. Now, time waiting for a usable space to be available is charged for as is the additional time taken to load/unload patients & wheelchairs & then travel to the appointment. Once there, 15 mins early as requested, long waiting times will now incur extra parking charges. Charging blue badge holders is a disgrace to our modern caring society. Parking companies imposing punitive penalties and threatening vulnerable people is an outrage. Those who support such charges must have no understanding of what it is like to care for a severely disabled relative. Surely it must be possible for the Hospital to at least make some concession to blue badge holders -the first hour free of charge would be a big help

  • frustratedresident  |  April 16 2013, 1:39PM

    Disabled groups along with many other 'minority' groups have campaigned for equality for many years, well welcome to our world Blue Badge Holders equality at last!

  • frustratedresident  |  April 16 2013, 1:36PM

    Disabled groups along with many other 'minority' groups have campaigned for equality for many years, well welcome to our world Blue Badge Holders equal at last!

  • Terry  |  April 15 2013, 11:18PM

    To have to pay to park at hospital is not good anyway, but to charge two pounds an hour is almost theft, and certainly a tax on the sick. Then to place this charge on the disabled is sick (excuse the pun) Disabled people should be given our support, not treated in this fashion. Town car parking is only half the price. Have we really sunk this low, to treat our disabled this way? Those responsible should be sacked. And well done Andrew Griffiths for taking this on.

  • Hines  |  April 15 2013, 1:15PM

    I agree with all the other comments I am a disabled DRIVER and previously the car parking spaces were very often being used as a WAITING space for people driving disabled people to hospital and then sitting in the car park space whilst they are in their appointments. This then made disabled DRIVERS unable to use the car parking space, many who needed to leave their cars in a larger space to facilitate getting wheelchairs out. Free parking for blue badge holders is not a perk with the blue badge, the parking permit is usually a way of making sure that the space is bigger to help with manoeuvring.