HOS­PI­TAL PARK­ING CHARGES KILLED MY DAD

Daily Express - - FRONT PAGE - By Giles Sheldrick

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.

Search­ing

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

Pic­tures: TIM CLARKE

Brian Ak­ers with son Phillip and daugh­ter Kerry, who is ex­pect­ing her first child in Novem­ber, in­set right. Below: Broom­field Hos­pi­tal

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