Hospital issues 58 parking orders to staff and patients for not paying fines

A hospital trust has issued nearly 60 County Court Judgements to NHS staff, patients and visitors for non-payment of parking fines.

Some were handed to long-serving members of staff who may now face difficulties obtaining mortgages or loans.

The figures were obtained by Grimsby Live via a Freedom of Information request to Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals Trust, which runs the town’s Diana, Princess of Wales Hospital as well as Scunthorpe General Hospital.

They show that 58 CCJs were obtained between February 2018 and January this year for failing to settle parking fines.

The Trust said in January that it was only aware of one CCJ being issued by an enforcement company on behalf of the car park operator.

The amount of money it is aiming to recoup is undisclosed because Parking Charge Notice (PCN) charges differ depending on the stage they are at within the penalty processes.

There are currently 29 PCNs due for payment through the parking operator, the Trust said.

Staff who choose to park at work have permits which are paid for out of their monthly wages and the car park firm is provided information on which staff have paid.

But the Trust said the systems are not linked with regard to enforcement and not all staff are registered with the parking permit system.

Between February 2018 and this year the number of fines imposed has fluctuated. There were 212 handed out in the 12 months to February 2019.

There were 715 over the next year, and 511 in the 12 months to February 2021.

The total amount of income from PCNs since the beginning of February 2018 to date is £16,426 from all car park users.

The Trust said it is unable to state how much money in fines is outstanding.

Staff have had free parking during the pandemic. Some took up the free offer and stopped using public buses to use their cars instead.

A Trust spokesperson said: ‘We know that parking is a contentious issue but the fact remains that we simply do not have enough parking spaces for every staff member, patient and visitor coming on to our sites.

‘It is important therefore that we do enforce the parking rules, to ensure we maintain clear access for emergency vehicles.

‘These are clearly set out in signage and in the terms and conditions every staff member agrees to when they apply for a permit.

‘We would urge anybody who receives a parking charge notice to act upon it – sadly there seem to be a number of staff who have ignored the PCN and the subsequent warning letters from the enforcement company, then the debt collector, then the final warning before it goes to CCJ.

‘Whilst we empathise with their situation, there are at least six opportunities to pay or appeal a PCN before it gets to CCJ stage.’

The Trust urged more staff to use bus services, including a free shuttle bus service provided by Stagecoach.

But one nurse who has received a CCJ told Grimsby Live that was ‘a ridiculous suggestion’.

They added: ‘At work we must socially distance but we are told it is not necessary going to and from work.

‘We all work shifts and it doesn’t fit in with the bus times. There are a lot of staff who live out of town.

‘There are staff who drop off and pick up their children around their shifts. There are a lot whose work involves caring in the community and use their own cars.

‘All the Trust cares about is making money over ensuring their amazing, hardworking, professionals are cared for and supported. They are damaging people’s lives.

‘Land has been sold off and parking is severely limited. But staff still prioritise getting to their wards and patients knowing they will leave their shifts and have to risk another £70 parking charge despite already paying monthly parking fees and having nowhere to park.’

Another nurse said she was late for work after spending half an hour driving around looking for a space on the site and in nearby streets.

She ended up driving home to get her husband to drop her back to work instead.

The nurse and her husband will be going to court this month to appeal against a CCJ.

She said: ‘The parking firm know who have staff permits. There are still cars getting ticketed. There was one next to me last week.’

Glenn Turp, Regional Director for the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) in the Yorkshire and the Humber region said: ‘It is more important than ever that nursing staff can travel to their place of work without the worry of car parking – especially when they are working long or extra shifts.

‘Parking remains free to NLAG staff as they continue to care for patients during the pandemic. We would encourage staff who feel that they have received a fine in error or unfairly to follow the appeals process.

‘Like many hospitals the demand for car parking spaces always outstrips supply. In the short and medium term the trust needs to work with the local council and other partners to alleviate pressure on parking across all its hospital sites.’

Read More