Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Jobsworths

One of the more irritating aspects of the so called commercialisation of the NHS was the introduction of parking fees at most major hospitals. Take my own local hospital, Medway Maritime, yes there is a problem with the sheer number of people wanting to park there, but that doesn't detract from the problem of people having to shell out a fee if they park at the hospital either for treatment or to visit a sick relative. Reducing the number of spaces for visitors in order to increase the number of staff parking places didn't help either but that's another issue. Unfortunately most hospitals put their parking controls in the hands of private companies and some are over zealous (to say the least)
Express.
A KIDNEY-SWAP patient had 10 parking tickets plastered on her car at a hospital while she was having surgery.
The woman had legitimately parked in a disabled bay and left a note on the windscreen saying she was in for transplant care.
But her Mini was blitzed by an “overzealous” warden at the ­University Hospital of Wales in ­Cardiff with tickets adding up to £300 in fines.
Yesterday the tickets were finally removed from the car after high-profile calls for private firm Vinci Park UK to show compassion. ­
Andrew Davies, Tory leader in the Welsh Assembly, said: “While I understand parking regulations and their enforcement are a necessity, some compassion would not have gone amiss.
“The issuing of 10 tickets is a ­little overzealous, to say the least.
“Everyone using a hospital car park is already under a certain amount of stress and anxiety.”
A tad OTT wouldn't you say?
Now this might be a set up, however the fact that the company or its representative bit just highlights a problem where those seeking treatment are being held over a barrel by those seeking their cash. Hospital visits are not particularly pleasant affairs for many anyway and this sort of thing simply adds to the stress factor.
I suppose you could insist on people using public transport to get to the hospital, though considering just how inconvenient public transport can be at times plus the lengthening of journey times coupled with the price of said transport does not make it a favourable option for many. In my case I can drive to the hospital in ten minutes, were I to go by bus, you're talking about at least an hour there plus an hour back complete with extortionate fares even if I buy a day ticket, it's pretty much the same price as parking for 24 hours at the hospital anyway.
Oh I'm sure there has to be some form of traffic and parking management for hospitals, I'm just not sure that the way it's currently being done is in anyone's best interests.

4 annotations:

James Higham said...

The wardens are on quotas, aren't they, to book as many as poss?

tris said...

When the SNP was elected in 2007 it removed parking charges at all but two hospitals in Scotland. The two had watertight contracts with parking companies which would have been impossible to get out of (Ninewells in Dundee, and Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh).

It's just plain wrong that people who are sick have to pay to park in their own hospital car parks, or struggle with public transport when they are sick, or walk for miles.

There are some things that decent people don't try to make money out of. It's not socialism, it's common decency.

The Labour party and the Conservatives with their little helpers seem to have that in very short supply.

The Boiling Frog said...

The new hospitals nearish me deliberately made a shortage of car parking spaces to try to force people to use 'more green' public transport.

Most notoriously, the Great Western, at Swindon which is built right next to the M4 motorway and the only way to use public transport is to drive into the town centre and get a bus back out.

Otherwise any chance of finding a parking space is next to zero even for the staff

pa_broon74 said...

Probably worth mentioning...

In Scotland, tickets issued by private companies (like TCP and Parking Eye) are not enforcable.

TCP don't even bother chasing people now, I got two tickets out at Forth Valley Acute Hospital for some imaginative parking, I stuck both of them on a sign giving info about parking fines.

Only police or local authorities can issue parking tickets in Scotland. Parking tickets recieved for parking at Tescos or Asda (for example) are not enforcable.