Anger at hospital parking charges hike

Visitors to a hospital were horrified to discover car parking charges had risen 50% overnight - with no prior warning.The trust board of the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston decided to increase the fee from Tuesday from £1 to £1.

Visitors to a hospital were horrified to discover car parking charges had risen 50% overnight - with no prior warning.

The trust board of the James Paget Hospital in Gorleston decided to increase the fee from Tuesday from £1 to £1.50 a visit to enable it to save towards providing extra car parking in the future.

But the first visitors knew of the rise was when they read a small notice fixed to the token machine in the foyer.

There were chaotic scenes as angry people, who had only come prepared with a £1 coin, scrabbled in their wallets to find the extra 50p.


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Hospital spokesman Elayne Guest apologised to patients and visitors for the confusion.

“We talked about it last week and we should have put up notices in advance in the car park and foyer. Instead they only went up at 6pm on Monday,” she said.

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Mrs Guest added the charge had remained £1 for four years and, at £1.50, would still be the lowest in East Anglia.

“Long-term, when finance permits, it is hoped to change the system to one where a short visit will only be charged a nominal fee,” she said.

But Miranda White, who was at the hospital on Tuesday to collect her great-aunt Elizabeth Day, said: “It's a disgrace.

“I am a single parent and it has been enough paying £10 to visit her each day for the past 10 days. To put the charge up like this is not right.”

Judith and Michael Perry have been visiting a patient twice a day for six weeks and were angry there had been no notice of the increase.

Mrs Perry said: “There's a lot of confusion with people not having the change and a lot of people are asking 'where's all this extra money going?'.”

Jim Bond, vice-chairman of patients' watchdog Yarmouth and Waveney Community Health Council (CHC), said: “I was the CHC's representative at the board meeting when it was decided and I objected strongly then. I feel this rise will adversely affect people on low incomes.”

Mrs Guest said the increasing number of cars coming on to the hospital site had prompted the need to save to create more parking.

She stressed there were concessions in such cases as parents visiting children or close relatives visiting several times a day.

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