THE parking woes of patients at Queen's Hospital have been taken to a national forum after the issue was raised in Parliament by MP Heather Wheeler.
The South Derbyshire politician spoke in a meeting of the Backbench Business Committee, when charges were described as 'a tax on NHS treatment' during a discussion on Government guidance that charges should be 'fair and proportionate'.
Mrs Wheeler joined her backbench colleagues in imploring hospital trusts to 'put patients first' in their quest to serve the public.
Speaking of the controversial Parking Eye system, which was installed last year, she said: "A number of constituents have come to me in absolute outrage, because when they get it wrong they get a £70 fine.
"I am delighted that on every occasion I have been able to appeal to the chief executive and get that fine removed, but what an incredible waste of their time and mine, let alone the angst and anger of constituents."
Parking Eye, which works on an automatic number plate recognition system, sends penalty notices to anybody it records 'abusing' the system.
Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, has received a barrage of complaints over the system, which does not tell people how much they owe as they leave the car park.
Critics have said the system, which was installed at no charge to the trust, prays on patients and visitors at a time of vulnerability.The trust has recently made efforts to simplify the system and alter its pricing structure.
Mrs Wheeler said: "There has been a huge outcry. They do not get a card that tells them when they came in. They might be rushing to take a child into A and E, or they might be a bit elderly and have eyesight that is not so good.
"This system has been imposed on my constituents, and I am not happy about it. I cannot believe the hospital has ended up going down that route and I think that national guidelines would be excellent."
Daniel Poulter, parliamentary under-secretary for health, said he accepted there was an issue.
"As a Government, we want to see greater clarity and consistency for patients and their friends and relatives about getting a fairer deal when it comes to car parking," he said.