Wiltshire Publications

More complaints but no answers on RUH parking dispute

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 11th, 2017 at 12:34 pm.

CONCERNSare growing over the state of parking at Bath’s Royal United Hospital with dozens of visitors complaining about unfair charges following a story in the last issue of White Horse News.

The paper has been inundated with local people saying they have been unfairly sent £80 charges despite paying for parking when they visited the hospital. Over 70 people say they have received unfair demands, but the NHS trust and ParkingEye have  both refused to explain why charges are being wrongly sent out and what is being done about it.

Amongst the complaints are that people have been charged despite paying the correct amount for parking; that they are being charged despite registering their blue badge; that the pay machine did not charge them the correct amount; that the signage is poor; that they typed their registration in wrong but didn’t know; and it isn’t clear how to use the system.

Patients and visitors say the charges add extra stress to people who are often visiting the hospital for appointments, tests or seeing loved ones, often in stressful circumstances, and say too many mistakes are being made.

One NHS staff member fell prey to the charge and said, “Obviously this is just money making for the parking company.  There is no doubt in my mind that this new parking system is designed to catch people out and make a massive profit for the company before people are aware.

“As an employee of the NHS I am happy to pay for my parking, but not to be duped by a company that is making massive profits at the expense of vulnerable people.”

ParkingEye is a national company that uses automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) systems in car parks across the UK. It reported a profit of over £5.9million in 2015.

A company spokesperson told White Horse News that the system at the hospital is working correctly, but refused to answer the following questions:

• Why are so many people having to appeal charges that can be overturned? If the charge can be waived, why is it given in the first place?

• What is being done to improve the parking experience for visitors to the hospital?

A spokesperson for the RUH issued a statement identical to one received two weeks ago and printed in the last issue of this newspaper.

But an email sent by the RUH to one person who complained, claimed that the ParkingEye’s system was “working well” and that the hospital had considered the company to have a “sympathetically managed enforcement system, which considered the unique situations pertaining to users of hospitals.”