HEALTH chiefs have reminded people of new parking arrangements at a hospital.
It comes after a health worker’s husband was fined for overstaying in a waiting bay at the University Hospital of Hartlepool as his nurse wife was late finishing a shift.
A new “ParkingEye” barrierless system was installed at the site, and also at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, in August.
That month, North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust, which runs both hospitals, moved to clarify the arrangements, after having 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.
But after the nurse’s husband contacted the Mail to say he was “furious” at the fine, especially as parking charges had increased while staff’s wages have had a minimal rise, trust chiefs have again reminded people of how the system works.
The man, who did not wish to be named, said: “Last week we had a letter saying we had been slapped with a £70 fine.
“I waited 10-15 minutes over in a 20-minute waiting bay.
“We are furious as she was late finishing because she had to look after a patient.
“The staff pay enough to park when going to work without these stupid fines.
“It is yet another reason why nurses and other healthcare workers, especially in North Tees and Hartlepool, are so fed up and a private company is making money out of people going to work. “At the end of the day, this was after visiting hours, it’s ridiculous.”
But bosses at the trust say ParkingEye is not making money out of people going to work.
The Mail reported that parking charges at the trust were being hiked by five per cent – four per cent more than their pay offer.
Workers already had to pay a minimum of £24 a month to park at the sites.
The trust’s associate director of estates and facilities Peter Mitchell admitted that “as with any new system it can take a little bit of time to get used to”.
He said: “This system means we no longer have car parking barriers as it uses automatic number plate recognition to capture vehicle registrations on entrance and exit, and checks if the appropriate tariff has been paid for the length of stay on site.
“You can pay on the way out at the machines or up to midnight on the same day after you leave the site either by text, phone or through www.paybyphone.co.uk using the site number 83159 for University Hospital of North Tees or 83160 for University Hospital of Hartlepool.
“We want to remind people that:
l When entering the hospital they need to make sure they are parking in a visitor car park;
l They should take a note of their vehicle registration number and enter the correct details into the system;
l They must go to the payment machine, follow the instructions and take a ticket;
l They should keep the ticket with them as proof of purchase (there is no need to display the ticket in their car.
“People will only receive a parking charge notice if they are parked inappropriately or if they are in breach of the terms and conditions of the car park such as non-payments.
“You can find out more at www.nth.nhs.uk.”