NHS parking charges: Piers Morgan slams increase in 2020
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Dr Malinga Ratwatte, who works in London, was slapped with a £100 parking fine for getting to his car nine minutes after his ticket expired. He was late because he had an urgent meeting about patient care.
Dr Ratwatte, a GP registrar, has now slammed the “absolutely abhorrent” fine that was given to him by a private parking company Parkingeye.
The NHS worker paid for out-of-hours parking and had a valid ticket until 8.30am.
Taking to Twitter, he wrote: “I left at 8.38am on day one and 8.39am on day two simply because I was walking from the meeting to the car park.
“How I am expected to teleport from a critical meeting about patient care to the car park is beyond me.
“It is absolutely abhorrent that even after Covid, NHS staff are being exploited and treated so poorly through predatory car parking fees and fines.
“This kind of behaviour is just one of the many reasons as to why NHS staff are feeling so disillusioned, combined with poor staffing, under resourcing and long term pay erosion.
“Forcing staff to cover unfilled rota gaps is causing burnout, stress and mental health problems.”
A Parkingeye spokesperson said: “Parkingeye has partnered with Barnet Hospital for eight years to significantly improve how it’s car parks operate.
“During this time there has been investment in modern consumer-facing systems which has enhanced accessibility and made parking at the hospital easier and safer for staff, patients and visitors. The system is designed to ensure the efficiency and smooth operation of the hospital by ensuring that patients, visitors and staff park in their allocated car parks.
“The member of staff received two Parking Charge Notices due to the out-of-hours Staff Parking Permit not corresponding with his vehicle registration (VRM).
“We can confirm both charges are cancelled and his permit details have been updated with the correct registration number.”
The Government has previously issued guidance on parking for NHS workers.
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It suggested that NHS trusts should get free parking between 7.30pm and 8am.
It was first introduced in July 2020 after ministers faced huge backlash over NHS parking fines.
In March 2020, nearly 500,000 people signed a petition urging the Government to stop NHS workers having to pay parking fees.
However, the initiative, which cost £130million, came to an end back in March.
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Last year, another consultant was hit with a parking fine after spending 13 hours in intensive care treating severely unwell Covid patients at Wales’ largest hospital.
Dr Chris Gough, who worked in intensive care at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) in Cardiff, had parked his car in one of the site’s multi-storey car parks at 7.46am on Wednesday, December 1, 2021.
As he finished his gruelling 13-hour shift, he returned to the car park just before 9pm and drove home.
Three weeks later, he received a parking charge notice in the post ordering him to pay a fine.
Despite having a staff parking permit, Dr Gough said he later discovered it was not valid for this particular area of the car park.
He posted a picture of the parking charge on Twitter, which showed that he entered the parking garage at 7:46am and left at 20:54pm.
Alongside the picture of the fine, Dr Gough wrote: “Getting a ticket for parking at the hospital in order to work a 13-hour shift during a pandemic.
“Because we don’t have enough else on our plates.
“I even have a staff permit, but apparently it does not include this car park.”
After his tweet, an outpouring of support was sent his way, with thousands of people offering to pay the fine for him.
He replied to his original tweet saying: “Many of you have so kindly offered to cover the cost of this.
“It’s hard to put into words how grateful I am for your kind words.
“Seriously, I am humbled by you all – thank you.
“Thankfully, I am told the parking charge will be cancelled.”
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