Hospital staff face £70 fine for parking cars in patient bays
STAFF at four Greater Manchester hospitals face being hit with a £70 fine if they leave their cars in patient spots - but some say they often no choice because their car parks are full.
One former nurse has slammed Pennine Acute NHS Trust after racking up around £1,200 in fines she is refusing to pay.
Trust staff working at Royal Oldham, North Manchester General, Fairfield General and Rochdale Infirmary are charged to park at their place of work.
It understood they can buy vouchers to use each time they park - or monthly permits.
How much staff pay for the privilege to park at their respective hospitals is not publicly-available information.
A trust nurse, who left earlier this year, said medics and other workers are regularly unable to find spaces in designated staff car parks at the hospitals and are forced to park in areas patients.
“When they do, they’re slapped with a £70 fine, which is reduced to £35 if paid within 14 days.
The trust’s car parks are run by Civil Enforcement Limited.
The nurse told our sister paper the M.E.N. he has received dozens of letters from solicitors threatening to take her to court.
“It’s a joke. I believe that staff should not have to pay for parking anyway, and then get fined for going to work,” she said.
“A lot of staff refuse to reserved for pay the fines in protest. If you don’t pay it you get a letter from Civil Enforcement saying it has gone up to £110.
“It then goes to a debt collection agency and it goes up to something like £240.
“After that you start getting solicitors’ letters saying you will be taken to court. I once had seven solicitors’ letters in one day.”
Staff have the option of paying on a daily basis, but the ticket machines only take coins. That has also caused problems.
The nurse added: “If I arrived for my shift at 7am and I didn’t have the right change on me I would leave a note on the dashboard saying ‘working in A&E, will pay later’ but it would be completely ignored.
“They are issuing the tickets willy-nilly and the trust completely wash their hands of it. I have had this hanging over my head for more than a year.”
Barry Waterhouse, travel and access manager at The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS, Trust said: “The Trust controls nearly 5,000 parking spaces across our four hospital sites. Designated parking areas are marked and signed to show which car parking spaces are for staff, visitors and patients using different coloured signage.
“Most recently, we have opened new staff parking areas at Rochdale Infirmary ●●Staff at hospitals includng Rochdale Infirmary say they often have no choice but to park in patient bays as their own car parks are full and a new parking area at North Manchester General Hospital, which has sections for patient and visitor, plus staff use.
“We actively encourage and remind our staff to use the staff parking areas only as this ensures patients and visitors can use the spaces closest to the hospital department entrances.
“In August 2015 we opened a new 562 space staff parking area at The Royal Oldham Hospital at Westwood Park. This represented a significant investment of £2.6m and clearly demonstrates our commitment to improve parking for the benefit of all users.
“We also encourage staff to use other methods of transport and offer free journey planning, discounted annual bus tickets, cycle parking and shower facilities, and discounted parking permits for staff who regularly car share.”