HOSPITAL PARKING CHARGES KILLED MY DAD
A GRIEVING family last night demanded that hospital parking charges be scrapped after blaming them for their father’s death.
Brian Akers died hours after leaving a hospital car park because he did not have any change to buy a ticket.
His heartbroken daughter Kerry claims the “stealth tax” killed him and wants his legacy to be an end to the punitive fees.
Mr Akers went to hospital with chest pains but had no
way of feeding the pay and display machine. Instead, he drove to see his doctor who put his agony down to an infection rather than a fatal blood clot.
Hours later he was found slumped in bed by his wife. He had died of a massive aneurysm.
Ms Akers, 32, pregnant with her first child, has now backed Tory MP Robert Halfon’s campaign to axe the “stealth tax on the sick”.
She said: “I truly believe hospital parking charges killed my father. If he had gone to A&E he would have seen a specialist who wouldn’t have dismissed it as an infection.
“I support this campaign 100 per cent because if it can prevent what happened to my dad happening to someone else then his death will not be in vain. Who knows who else this has happened to?”
Heating engineer Mr Akers, 57, of South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, tried to park at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford.
Worried he would be fined, or even have his work vehicle clamped, he drove 30 miles to a GP surgery where he had an electrocardiogram test. He returned home to rest but was found dead when his wife returned home from work.
Former minister Mr Halfon, the MP for Harlow, launched a petition on the Government website after a nationwide outcry that the sick had become a target for money-making health bosses.
Oxfam humanitarian worker Ms Akers, of Beaconsfield, Bucks, said: “Almost six years after Dad died we are still searching for answers.
“Dad hated going to the doctor’s so the fact he took himself to hospital on his own just shows how serious he thought this was.
“He was a hard-working, lawabiding man. We pay our taxes so we all have equal access to NHS health care but parking is a barrier to that equal access.
“He couldn’t pay so instead of parking illegally he decided to take himself to his GP.
“I get angry when I think that £2.50 could have saved his life but his death has motivated me to seek change and I am glad there is huge momentum behind this campaign.”
The official cause of Mr Akers’s death was given as pulmonary thromboembolism, a blockage of an artery in the lungs. No inquest was held and the family have not sought compensation.
Father-of-two Mr Akers was found dead on the same day he went to hospital – November 20, 2012. Later the family were forced to pay through the nose for hospital parking when Kerry’s mother, Lynne, 62, was admitted to Queen’s Hospital, Romford, with a brain tumour.
Mrs Akers, 62, said: “My ex-husband lost his life unnecessarily. If he had made it to hospital they would have kept him in and he would still be alive. Brian’s death was a needless death. Everyone is entitled to use the NHS but to die from not having enough change for a car park seems utterly senseless.”
Ms Akers is expecting her child in November. Her brother Phillip, 29, who also backs the campaign, is getting married later this year.
Mid Essex Hospital Trust, which runs Broomfield Hospital, made £1.625million from car parking charges last year.
A spokesman said: “It is necessary to charge for parking to provide the funds to contribute to the provision and upkeep of the facilities, also to continue to contribute to the wider transport planning and to provide income for the trust.” The Department for Health and Social Care said: “We have made it very clear that patients, their families and our hardworking staff should not be subjected to unfair parking charges. While NHS Trusts are responsible for these charges and any revenue goes back into frontline services, we are keeping this area under review.”
To sign the petition visit www.petition.parliament.uk/petitions/219650
Grieving daughter Kerry Akers and, inset, her father Brian
Brian Akers with son Phillip and daughter Kerry, who is expecting her first child in November, inset right. Below: Broomfield Hospital