Redbridge hospital to charge blue badge drivers

DISABLED drivers will be charged for parking in hundreds of bays at King George Hospital.

The health trust says it has been forced to act following a string of incidents where blue badge holders have been subjected to abuse.

At present, blue badge holders can park in the main, barrier-controlled car park at the hospital in Barley Lane, Goodmayes.

But they have to call security to be released without charge.

It is a process which the trust says takes “considerable” time and leads to a queue of cars stacking up trying to exit the car park.

So now, having enjoyed free parking in the past, blue badge holders will face the same parking charges as all other drivers.

But Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT), which manages King George, has said blue badge holders will still be able to park for free in the 56 spaces in the hospital’s open car park.

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The same changes will happen at Queen’s Hospital, Romford, with 74 spaces in its open car park to be the only area where blue badge holders can park for free.

A spokesman for BHRUT said: “We are introducing a new parking policy to improve traffic management on both our sites.

“Currently, those with disabled badges have to call security to be released without charge. This takes considerable time and has led to abuse from frustrated drivers.”

The trust would not say when the measures will be introduced.

Motorists have to pay a minimum of �2 to park in King George, which means they can stay for three hours.

A spokesman for charity Mobilise, which fights for the rights of disabled drivers, said: “Introducing parking charges for blue badge holders is unfair.

“It will cost disabled people more money as they have to go to hospital more often than other people.”

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