Ipswich: Hospital issues 1,220 parking tickets
THOUSANDS of pounds worth of parking tickets have been handed out to motorists caught flouting hospital parking rules.
In the year to April 2010, security staff at Ipswich Hospital issued 1,220 parking tickets, the latest Freedom of Information request has revealed.
Despite forcing patients, visitors and staff to pay up to �60 for their parking errors, hospital chiefs have claimed they are sympathetic to the fact it is difficult to predict how long your visit will last.
But campaigner Prue Rush has called for the pay and display system to be scrapped and a fairer system to be adopted.
She said: “I don’t feel we should be fining people for parking at the hospital unless there is good reason.
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“If they have left their car there all day and gone off somewhere else, then fair enough but I am surprised at the extent of this.
“At the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, you take a ticket at the barrier and you can’t get out until you have paid. It is much fairer because you cannot get fined for staying longer than you anticipated and means you do not have to pay someone to patrol the car park.”
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Parking fees at the Heath Road hospital start at 70p for a 30-minute visit and rise to �11 for stays exceeding six hours. Fines are set at �60 but this is halved if paid within 14 days.
The hospital has previously been urged to review charges after it was revealed parking generates nearly �1.3million each year but bosses have explained this revenue is spent on resurfacing roads and footpaths within the hospital grounds, gritting and snow clearance, security and car park lighting.
Hospital spokeswoman Jan Rowsell said: “We have to charge for car parking so we can manage the situation. We are based on a 46-acre site and have around 8,000 people here on a normal week day, so we are comparable to a small town.”
She explained that prior to charging, emergency access routes were, in occasions, blocked and a minority of motorists also abused the car parking facilities.
“Fines are a last resort and we do take a compassionate but pragmatic view. The reason we have a fines system in operation is so that everyone gets treated equally. All members of staff, patients and visitors, unless they have a blue badge, must pay for car parking.