Fury at hospital charge

Jessica Austin with the ticket from Scarborough Hospital along with her mother, Rebekha Austin.
Jessica Austin with the ticket from Scarborough Hospital along with her mother, Rebekha Austin.

A MOTHER who rushed her poorly 10-year-old daughter to hospital in Scarborough is furious after the NHS trust refused to rescind a parking ticket.

On March 9, Rebekha Austin, of East Lutton in Ryedale, was told by her doctor in Driffield to take her daughter Jessica to Scarborough Hospital immediately, after it became apparent she was seriously unwell.

Once she arrived at the hospital she looked for 15 minutes for a space but with her daughter’s condition worsening, she purchased a ticket and parked on the side of the road.

She returned to her car to put a permit on it, which she had been given by hospital staff after it became clear her daughter would have to remain in hospital.

However when she did so she was greeted with the sight of a parking ticket, which she had been given for not parking in a proper bay.

“I just burst into tears,” said Mrs Austin. “It was the last thing I needed. I explained what had happened to a parking attendant and she told me to appeal and the ticket would be taken away.”

However the hospital recently wrote to Mrs Austin and told her that her appeal had been rejected, and demanded the £60 payment in full.

“It seems like they’re just trying to make money,” she added. “I’m totally shocked that they went through with it, especially after I did buy a ticket.

“My daughter had a boiling temperature and had already been sick, and there were just no spaces available.

“I’ve tried to ring the hospital but the line is constantly engaged. I think it’s disgraceful and it’s has been really upsetting.”

Jessica eventually spent five days in the hospital’s Duke of Kent children’s ward with a kidney infection, for which she required intravenous antibiotics.

Mrs Austin added: “I could have gone for an ambulance which would have cost the hospital a lot more and I wouldn’t have had any of this hassle, but I wanted to get Jessica to hospital straight away.”

A spokesperson for Scarborough NHS Trust said it was looking into the circumstances of Mrs Austin’s complaint.

Enforcement of parking fines at Scarborough Hospital was introduced in February.

On the first day alone, 25 parking tickets were handed out to staff, patients and visitors.

The NHS trust has said it was already exploring other ways of administering parking charges, after their introduction proved controversial.