10:40 Monday 09 December 2013

Grandmother blasts hospital parking as 'cruel'

Written byLAURA HAMMOND

06/12/13 Queen's parking issues - Westfield Road, HorninglowSharon Withers complaining about parking at Queen's Hospital.. 06/12/13 Queen's parking issues - Westfield Road, HorninglowSharon Withers complaining about parking at Queen's Hospital..

A GRANDMOTHER has hit out at the new parking system at the hospital, which has left her fearing a fine for an urgent dash to A&E with her baby granddaughter.

Sharon Withers neglected to note the exact time of her arrival when she rushed the three-month-old to Queen’s Hospital with breathing problems. She tried to pay the right amount, but had no way to find out the exact amount she owed.

The 44-year-old says she has overpaid to try to cover the charge, but she is now concerned about facing a possible fine, as well as being worried about her granddaughter. She said she did not think this was the type of system which a caring organisation should put in place.

She told the Mail: “It’s absolutely crazy. There’s no way of finding out how much you’ve got to pay.

“At the time, my three-month-old granddaughter was very poorly. When I left, I was extremely tired and stressed, and in the middle of the night your brain doesn’t work.”

It was 10pm when she rushed the baby into Queen’s earlier this week, and she did not leave until almost 4am, after the little girl had been admitted.

At the time, she was unsure as to what was wrong with her granddaughter, and she was very worried.

“I think it’s incredibly cruel to somebody who is taking a loved one in an emergency, or who could be receiving bad news, to expect them to stop and think about this,” Mrs Withers added.

The new parking system has been lambasted by patients and visitors since it was put in at the end of October, with many people saying it is difficult and confusing to use.

Geoff Neild, head of facilities for Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Queen’s, said: “We recognise that there have been some issues since the new parking system was implemented and we continue to monitor all feedback.”

Changes made since it was installed include the addition of more car parking attendants and moves towards installing a change machine to help prevent people from over-paying.

Mr Neild added that people who could not remember the exact time they arrived would be covered if they were five or 10 minutes out.

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