Hospitals hand out more than 1,000 parking fines in first month of new rules

This post first appeared on Nottingham Post. Read the original article.

More than a 1,000 people have been fined for parking dangerously or irresponsibly at the two city hospitals in the first month of new charges.

The new parking enforcement scheme was launched on Tuesday, August 1, by the Nottingham University Hospitals (NUH) NHS Trust .

The £50 parking fines are being handed to those drivers parking “dangerously or irresponsibly” at Queen's Medical Centre and Nottingham City Hospital.

There has been 1,015 Parking Charge Notices (PCNs) and 191 written warnings issued in the first month.

NUH says that the surge in bad parking is due to the fact that the “provision does to meet the demand” at the two sites, which has around 3,800 spaces in total.

Andrew Chatten, NUH’s director of estates and facilities, said: "We’ve been really pleased with the improvement that we have seen on the sites – it is clear for everyone to see.

"The feedback from visitors, especially disabled drivers, has been very positive. Our focus is on ensuring we maintain and build on this improved position.

"Although it seems this work has achieved what it set out to do, we are mindful that it has caused disruption for some staff and to some of our closest neighbours.

"It is important to remember that this is one part of a wider programme of work looking at how we can improve access to our sites.

"We are also exploring whether we can create more spaces at our hospitals, to better meet demand, and encourage more patients, visitors and staff to use public transport, including the tram, to get to our hospitals."

A survey is to be carried out, with the results available in the Autumn, looking at ways to combat the issue and how many more parking spaces are needed.

The hospitals said vehicles parked in hatched areas and on double red lines were posing safety problems and making it difficult for ambulances and other emergency vehicles access the site.

There were also problems with inappropriate parking in disabled bays causing distress to patients and visitors.

Since the fines were introduced , NUH says that site access and availability of disabled spaces has improved.

The number of staff asking to join the discounted travel scheme has also risen by a quarter - from 241 in 2016 to 301 compared to the same period this year.

Dave Ratchford, Unison regional organiser, is calling for multi-storey car parks on both sites to resolve the problems of "dangerous and irresponsible parking".

He said: "We would welcome the introduction of any measures to reduce dangerous parking on site because that is a benefit to staff, patients and visitors. We are pleased the trust has adopted a pragmatic approach to the issue of staff parking in car parks.

"But the bottom line of this whole issue is about the insufficiency of car parking spaces provided. The trust makes over £3.2m a year on car parking so we are looking to them to find a solution to providing more car parking such as two multi-storeys."

The Post spoke to a number of visitors and staff at the hospital who agreed with the introduction of the fines.

Support worker at the QMC , Beth Stanford, 59, from West Bridgford, said: "I use the bus because of the risk of being fined and the lack of parking.

"I can understand the dangerous parking because there is nowhere to park. I don’t even think about parking here now, there’s no point."

Mick Dickinson, 71, from Bulwell, said: "I’ve noticed it has improved since they brought in the dangerous parking fines. I use a blue badge and there less people wrongly parking in the disabled spaces than there were before."

Nurse Jayme Lie, 27, from Mapperley, added: "It didn’t work at first but when they started actually fining people it became effective in stopping dangerous parking, but it is causing a bit of mayhem.

"There just aren’t enough spaces, especially for the visitors. I can understand why people used to abandon their cars where they shouldn’t, if you don’t give people enough spaces they’ll do that."

And Laura Scholey, 21, from Bingham, said: "I think the fines are fair enough. There’s not enough spaces but you shouldn’t park dangerously should you? It used to be quite bad before so I agree with it."