BURTON’S MP launched a withering attack on Queen’s Hospital bosses after they decided that controversial disabled parking charges would not be scrapped following a review.
Andrew Griffiths tore into health chiefs at the Belvedere Road site saying that they had ‘failed to listen to the concerns of the people they are supposed to represent’ after learning that charges for blue badge holders introduced in April would stay in place despite campaigners fighting for them to be abolished.
However, disabled hospital patients were offered a ray of hope after plans for a concessionary scheme to make sure they are not ‘financially disadvantaged’ were announced.
Mr Griffiths told the Mail: “This is an extremely disappointing decision.
“It clearly demonstrates that the management at Queen’s have failed to listen to the concerns of the people they are supposed to represent.
“Sadly it doesn’t surprise me, and is just the latest in a long line of poor decisions. This follows on from the disastrous handling of the extremely critical Keogh report, and raises yet more questions of those in charge.
“They can waste millions on overpaid management consultants but they can’t afford to let disabled people park for free.
“I sometimes wonder just what the priorities of those running Queen’s Hospital really are.”
Tony Waite, director of finance at the hospital, said “We would like to reassure people that we take the issues raised about car parking charges very seriously and we have listened carefully to the feedback we have received from patients, carers and visitors over the last four months.
“On the basis of the feedback, we believe we can and should do better in supporting people with specific requirements.
“The executive team have reviewed their decision to implement charges for blue badge holders and have agreed that charging holders to park is appropriate and should continue.
“Throughout the review our main consideration has remained to separate the issue of patients and visitors ability to pay, from the need to ensure that as a trust we do not discriminate against disabled patients through the charging structure that is in place.
“Regardless of their ability to pay disabled users should not be financially disadvantaged as a result of their ability to access hospital services.
“It is for that reason that we have agreed to introduce a concessionary scheme for blue badge holders and changes will be introduced from October 1.
“We are committed to engaging with our patients, users and disability groups to determine the improvements we can make to our car parking arrangements and concessionary schemes to ensure that we better meet users’ needs.”