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Call to drop hospital car parking charges

PUBLISHED: 10:03 02 April 2010 | UPDATED: 21:47 02 July 2010

AN independent health body has called for Queen s Hospital to scrap car parking charges amid horror stories from patients. Havering Local Involvement Network (LINk) is set to make a written recommendation to John Goulston, chief executive of Barking, Have

AN independent health body has called for Queen's Hospital to scrap car parking charges amid horror stories from patients.

Havering Local Involvement Network (LINk) is set to make a written recommendation to John Goulston, chief executive of Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust, early next week urging him to cut the controversial charges.

But the trust has argued the charges are decided by the Government and outside of its control.

The recommendation follows a public meeting on Monday (March 29) where patients and visitors vented their frustration at the charges - £2 for a minimum of three hours - and lack of spaces.

Havering LINk chairman Med Buck said he had received a flood of complaints about parking at the hospital in Rom Valley Way, Romford, including one woman who claimed she regularly had to drop off her 86-year-old father-in-law two hours early simply to ensure she got a parking space.

In an email sent to Havering LINk she said: "Bringing an injured person to the hospital is a nightmare. Whoever designed the hospital car park so far away from A&E must have a warped sense of humour.

"Yes, there is a drop-off point but what good is that if you have a child that is too young to be left while you re-park or an elderly person with dementia?"

The recommendations will include free parking for patients, blood donors, the registered disabled, relatives attending an emergency where death is imminent and visitors of longer stay patients (over 14 days).

The group will also propose the trust rent the nearby rugby club and ice rink car parks for staff parking, providing a shuttle bus between the sites.

Mr Buck said: "Hospital car parking fees have already been scrapped in Scotland so why can't it happen here?

"The hospital also needs to be more vigilant to make sure disabled spaces are not being used by people who are not disabled or by staff. There have been many complaints about this."

At the meeting Jackie Doyle, BHR Trust divisional manager of non- clinical estates and facilities, argued parking fees were decided by the Government and outside the trust's control. The trust is also governed by Havering Council as to how much it charges - it's a requirement that they meet those of town centre car parks.

She added that the trust had built new bus terminals outside the hospital and worked with TfL to increase the number of routes.

A private company had also been employed to tow away illegally parked cars.


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