SCARBOROUGH Hospital is to launch a new crackdown on car parking – with two new parking attendants.
From February 1 people who do not pay and display could be hit with a £60 fine, or £30 if paid within 14 days.
The new attendants have been recruited to patrol the hospital car parks at Scarborough and Bridlington and they are already issuing warning notices.
Leo McGrory, chairman of the Scarborough Local Involvement Network (LINk), which aims to give patients a voice on health issues, said: “We’re completely opposed to it.
“We challenged the trust on this a year ago and there has been no consultation on this. Someone could have an appointment that goes on longer than they think, get some terrible news about their health then come out and find they’ve got a parking ticket.
“People can go to pieces if they or a member of their family is seriously ill. It’s just not acceptable.”
One of the attendants is Bridlington councillor and ex-mayor Liam Dealtry.
Patients are particularly concerned about appointments taking longer than expected. Retired railway signalman Geoff Bell, 69, of Malton, said: “I’ve paid for two hours, but I don’t know how long I’m going to be here.
“If people have to pay I suppose it should be policed properly, but I’ll have to tackle the issue about getting a parking fine if it happens.”
Former McCain worker Audrey Bruce, 67, of Cayton, said: “I think it’s ridiculous. You can come in for an appointment and be sat nearly an hour waiting to go in.
“It’s terrible – it’s not like you can come out of having a scan to put more money on the parking time.”
Reg Parnaby, 76, of Mayfield Avenue, who used to work at Irton Moor wireless station, said: “It’s impossible to judge how long you’re going to be.
“You could pay for an hour and be in there for two or three.”
Engineer Robert Hughes, 43, of Bridlington, who was with his nine-year-old son George, said: “They need more parking spaces - I’ve had to park on a kerb today as the car park was full.
“I don’t mind paying a charge, but you just don’t know how long you’re going to be.
“I’ll definitely be more worried about it from February 1.”
The trust’s director of facilities, James Hayward, explained that the penalty charges will be administered by an external company and have been introduced for safety reasons.
He said: “The trust has received many comments from patients, visitors, bus companies and staff regarding the difficult and sometimes dangerous parking at Scarborough Hospital.
“Recently many buses and delivery vehicles have found it difficult to navigate the roads around the hospital due to improper parking.
“In order to improve the safety of both drivers and pedestrians we decided to introduce proper management controls, which includes the creation of two car park attendant roles.
“We know, from talking to local people, that car parking and access to hospital is an important issue.”
He added that the trust is also working on a Travel Plan, which aims to help reduce car parking demand and traffic congestion on site.
As part of this plan bosses are working with East Yorkshire Motor Services to encourage more people to use the number 10 ‘hospital’ bus service which operates twice an hour.
Mr Hayward added that they also have a shuttle bus for patients and visitors which runs between Scarborough and Bridlington Hospitals.
However, health spokesman Leo McGrory said he was not convinced by the “safety” argument.
He said: “I cannot see any real benefit to the trust or to patients and their families.”
Mr McGrory also made the point that paying at the point of exit, so people don’t have to guess how long they’re going to be there, would be much more amenable all round.
This system is currently in operation at James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough and will be introduced at York Hospital from April.
A Scarborough Hospital spokeswoman stressed that concessions are available to patients visiting the hospital for treatment three or more times a week.
Free parking is also available to visitors if they have a relative in hospital for more than five days.
For further information about these permits ask at Scarborough Hospital’s main reception, speak to a member of ward staff or contact the Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) on (01723) 342434.