HEALTH bosses have moved to remind people that new car parking arrangements are in place at hospital sites in Hartlepool and Stockton.
Officials at North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust run the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, and introduced the new parking charges at the start of August.
The reminder has been issued because they have had one or two people visiting twice a day buying two tickets when there is no need and comments from a few people that they hadn’t seen the signs about the new arrangements.
Overall though Trust bosses say the new arrangements have “settled in” well and have moved to stress they have “simplified” the tariffs stating the 12-hour £3 tariff will cover the same car for afternoon and evening visits.
A Trust spokeswoman said: “We’d like to remind anyone visiting the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees that our new parking arrangements, managed by ParkingEye, are now in place.
“People should look out for the signs when they enter the car park.
“For anyone familiar with our hospitals the old barrier system has now been removed. The new system uses automatic number plate recognition and can time how long any car has been on site.
“The advantage of the new system is you can drive straight in and out of the visitor car parks so no queues waiting for the barriers, but don’t forget to pay.”
People can pay:
l When they come onto the site (all machines take cash and the machines in the main entrance takes cash and credit or debit cards)
l When they leave the site
l Up to midnight on the same day after they leave the site by text, phone or through entrance takes cash and credit or debit cards) www.paybyphone.co.uk using the site number:
- 83159 for University Hospital of North Tees.
- 83160 for University Hospital of Hartlepool.
Trust bosses have warned patients and visitors will receive a civil penalty notice from Parking Eye if they do not pay, do not pay the correct amount, park in the wrong car park, if they park in the drop off zone or if they park outside a car park area and obstruct other traffic and emergency vehicles.
The tariffs are:
l Free drop off and pick up for 20 minutes
l £3 for up to 12 hours parking (which means people can visit in the afternoon and evening using the same ticket if travelling in the same car).
l £6 for up to 24 hours parking
There is also a 28 day pass for £10 for patients and visitors.
There was controversy when the new system was brought in because struggling hospital staff were slapped with a whopping five per cent increase to park at work - having been offered just a one per cent pay rise.
Workers already have to pay a minimum of £24 a month to park at the university hospitals of Hartlepool and North Tees. But under the new charges, they face parking fee increases of four per cent higher than their pay offer.
It comes as Phillip Broughton, UKIP’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Hartlepool in the 2015 General Election, has called for the end of all car parking charges at hospitals in this country.
Mr Broughton said: “The practice of charging patients, visitors and even hospital staff to park their cars at NHS hospitals is a scandalous rip-off and must be brought to an end.”