Heacham man questions blue badge fee at Lynn hospital
A Heacham man says he is contemplating starting a petition over the proposed car parking fees at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Alan Hall is against the new tariffs which are due to come into operation later this year.
The decision to change the tariffs was taken by Trust Board following a request from the hospital’s elected governors.
Mr Hall said: “Morally I think it is wrong to be charging blue badge holders a car parking fee. It is totally going against the vulnerable, especially the people who have to use the hospital two or three times a week.
“It isn’t the right way forward and bucks the trend of what is being said nationally.”
Mr Hall spent Wednesday outside the site encouraging blue badge holders to use hospital transport, rather than pay the £2 fee, and drumming up public support.
“I couldn’t believe the amount of blue badge holders who didn’t know that the fees are being brought in,” said Mr Hall.
“If holders apply for hospital transport, the trust may think twice about bringing the tariffs in.”
Only last week, local county councillor Alexandra Kemp demanded a rethink on the proposed charges at the Gayton Road site.
She said: “This will directly affect my disabled constituents and is a disgraceful tax on disability. It must not happen.”
Some hospital trusts in England are making more than £3m a year from car parking fees, Freedom of Information (FOI) requests showed at the end of last year.
Of more than 90 trusts, half are making at least £1 million a year, while almost half of all trusts charged disabled people for parking in some or all of their disabled spaces.
Trust chairman Edward Libbey said: “We welcome feedback from both patients and the wider community and thank councillor Kemp for raising her concerns. West Norfolk Council are holding public consultations over the proposed changes to our parking tariff and we would encourage as many people as possible to participate in this.”
Hospital chiefs have revealed that new ticket machines are being installed which will take both debit and credit cards.
Mr Libbey said: “As part of our commitment to improve all aspects of patient experience, we are currently in the process of upgrading our parking meters so visitors are able to pay with a bank card.
“Some of the new meters are being placed in locations, and at a height, where they are easily accessible by those with mobility issues.”