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Talks to take place on controversial parking

Parking at Wansbeck Hospital conrolled by Parking Eye and cameras.

Parking at Wansbeck Hospital conrolled by Parking Eye and cameras.

Urgent talks are to be held over a new parking system in place at Wansbeck General Hospital following numerous complaints from angry visitors.

Changes were made to car parking arrangements the hospital last May.

But visitors to the site in Ashington have hit out at the system run by ParkingEye, describing it as unfair.

Now, bosses at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust have announced they are holding urgent talks with the company after receiving complaints from patients and visitors.

A trust spokesperson said: “The trust has listened to, and is concerned by, the many issues raised by patients and families, since the ParkingEye system was installed.

“As a result, we are entering into urgent discussions with ParkingEye Ltd to find a way of addressing these concerns and preventing any recurrence of the issues which have been reported to us.”

The previous system at the car park was pay and display.

ParkingEye uses an automatic number place recognition system to record when vehicles enter and leave the site.

Visitors are given a free 20-minute period for ‘pick-ups’ or ‘drop-offs’ before being charged £1.20 an hour, with a 60p charge for half an hour after the first hour.

The system also allows more options to pay, including credit or debit card.

But since the system was introduced, some visitors and patients have hit out at the scheme after being hit with what they called unjustified fines.

One visitor, who appealed after being given a £70 fine while she was registering a disabled badge on site, said: “What does one do with a sick or injured relative?

“Are we supposed to park in the paying car park while we run back to A&E and register the car, leaving our relatives unattended?

“This system is unfair and unsympathetic to sick and injured patients.

“It is just a way of making money from the vulnerable.”

Patients and visitors should continue to pay for parking using the existing system.

Anyone with any queries about parking can also call the trust’s estates team on (0191) 293 4353 or email carparking@northumbria.nhs.uk

 

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