The state of parking at hospitals in the UK has been laid bare by two separate incidents that resulted in a doctor being fined for a night shift overrunning ‘by minutes’ and a disabled woman who had to leave her child alone in A&E due to dedicated spaces having been removed.
Trainee GP Malinga Ratwatte was fined after leaving his hospital car park less than 10 minutes late after two separate 12.5-hour shifts.
He faced two parking tickets which demanded £100 each for the infringement.
According to Government guidance, NHS staff on night shifts should get free parking between 7.30pm and 8.00am.
At some trusts, as in Dr Ratwatte’s case, the allowance is extended to 8.30am.
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“I had to leave him on his own in A&E with a broken wrist in a waiting room full of people he didn’t know, while I hobbled out to move my car.
“They made me feel awful about it. I said, ‘Absolutely not, I am not parking further away’.
“What am I supposed to do – call another ambulance to get me to A&E from the car park?”
Ms Ryan said that she was eventually allowed to park in one of the ambulance bays, but added: “Even if you are able-bodied, I believe you have to drop off your child in A&E and leave them there and park 400 metres away, if you can find a space.
“What are you going to do if it’s your baby that’s sick? Leave a baby on a chair?”
A spokesperson from the hospital said: “To ensure 24-hour safe and efficient access for emergency vehicles, the area outside our A&E entrance is designated as a public drop-off zone only.
“Our staff are always on hand to support patients with limited mobility. Similar to elsewhere across the hospital, disabled parking, distinct from patient drop off, is located at a short distance to an entrance.”
It comes after Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust re-introduced parking charges for hospital employees from April 1, due to changes in central funding.