Hospital car parking review welcomed

A VETERAN councillor has welcomed news that health bosses are to re-consider controversial parking charges at an Essex hospital.

James Hore

A VETERAN councillor has welcomed news that health bosses are to re-consider controversial parking charges at an Essex hospital.

Roy Smith, chairman of Tendring District Council, spoke out after he was inundated with complaints from people unhappy with the £1.50 minimum fee at Clacton Hospital.

Many elderly people only need to use the hospital for very short stays, such as when they go in to collect new batteries for their hearing aids.


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Mr Smith wrote to the North East Essex Primary Care Trust (PCT) in March and was frustrated when he did not get any response from bosses.

He pointed to hospitals in Wales where patients can park free of charge, questioning why it could not also happen in Clacton.

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But he has now been told that the trust will be reviewing its policy later this year.

Mr Smith said: “Clacton district hospital has one of the largest number of outpatients in the area and this is really important for the oldies like me.

“We have a lot of the population here who are on a fixed and limited income and very often they only need to use the car park for a very short period of time.

“It is great news that the PCT has accepted what we are saying and I now hope they will provide free parking for a short time - ideally half an hour, but even quarter of an hour would be helpful.”

Alan Mack, the deputy chief executive at the PCT, apologised for the time it had taken to respond.

He told Mr Smith in a letter: “The administration of the NHS in Wales is partly determined by the Welsh Assembly and it was the assembly who made the policy decision to remove car parking charges in hospitals.

“In England, we are required to seek charges for parking on hospital sites in line with other NHS organisations.

The PCT will be reviewing its car parking and charging policy in the autumn and we will consider feasibility of a short waiting facility as part of a review to address the issues you have raised with me.”

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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