A GRIEVING widow was slammed with a parking fine for failing to pay as she sat with her dying husband in Queen’s Hospital - even after she explained her situation.
Pamela Gent received the £70 fine just days after she rushed to the bedside of her husband John, who died in the early hours of February 19.
She appealed to management company Parking Eye, only to be sent another demand. It was only when she contacted the company again that the penalty was finally dropped, following weeks of distress.
The 67-year-old said: “I received a call from the hospital at 3am saying he was very poorly and could I make my way up there.
“I parked outside A&E. I knew it was only 20-minute parking there, but in the situation that doesn’t come into it.
“I went to sit with him and he subsequently died at 6.10am. I was very upset and I just wanted to go home. I didn’t think about a fine.”
Mrs Gent, of Burton Road, Overseal, said she could ‘quite understand’ receiving the initial letter, and wrote to Parking Eye explaining the situation. But she was sent another demand just a few days later, telling her the fine would be reduced to £40 if she paid promptly.
“I was upset and angry. It was quite intimidating, telling me March 11 was D-Day for paying a lower fine. At the least it was insensitive, and at the worst I think it was obscene, with the situation being as it was. It was bad enough already,” she told the Mail.
Yesterday morning – D-Day as she called it – she rang Parking Eye to ask about the status of her appeal, only to be told that her letter had not yet been processed.
However, she was eventually told that, in the circumstances, the fine would be cancelled.
The member of staff on the phone told her that workers had to ‘go through the pile’. In the meantime, the bereaved Mrs Gent had become increasingly distressed.
“Clearly, their administration procedure needs looking at. It causes a lot of upset. They were sending me chasing letters, which I didn’t want or need. The letter was intimidating, that’s why I rang them. I didn’t want another letter. I shouldn’t have had to make that phone call at this time. They should have dealt with the appeal instead of sending intimidating chasing letters,” she said.
A spokesman for Parking Eye confirmed that the fine had been dropped, adding: “Parking Eye issues a reminder letter nine days after the original parking charge notice letter, as was the case for the incident in question, to give the motorist sufficient time to benefit from the discounted charge.”
Bosses at Queen’s Hospital have come under fire for installing the ANPR machines operated Parking Eye since they were put in last October. Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the Belvedere Road site, launched a review in December to investigate the problems which people were experiencing, and the results are due to be released this week.