DISABLED people are being taken advantage of through ‘excessive’ hospital parking charges, claims the mum of a wheelchair-bound youngster.
Seven-year-old Ben Anker suffers from cerebral palsy and epilepsy, leaving him needing regular hospital treatment.
Mum Francesca says due to regular appointments, she is forking out some £35 a month in hospital parking charges.
South Warwickshire Foundation Trust’s (SWFT) Leamington, Warwick and Stratford sites along with University Hospital Coventry are among 140 which charge disabled badge holders. Nationally there are some 1,070 NHS car parks which do not charge patients.
But Francesca says while she does not mind paying to park, she objects to the fees being so high.
She said: “I think they take advantage of people, especially those who have to visit often for things such as physiotherapy.
“I feel that for hospital trips longer than a few hours there should be some sort of concession in place. At UHCW we are often there for four hours having x-rays and seeing various doctors in different clinics.”
Francesca also said along with paying charges she often struggles to find a space suitable to park her wheelchair-adapted car.
She added: “For people driving wheelchair adapted vehicles such as ours it’s really hard to park.
“It doesn’t fit in some car parks as it’s too tall. I can’t park in between two cars as I often get blocked in and don’t have enough room to get the ramp down.
“When we visit Warwick hospital I often have to park on a side street and hope I don’t run over the time limit and get a ticket.
“Lots of people think that parking with a blue badge is easy. It’s not.”
But the trust says its charges are in line with national guidelines.
A spokeswoman said: “The trust’s car parking charges are in line with the national travel cost scheme, which states that the only exemption to car parking charges is for patients who are on means tested benefits. This is in line with other public sites. If blue badge holders are on means tested benefits they can claim these costs back.
“The trust do not aim to make a profit from car parks and all income is reinvested to ensure that they remain safe and secure.”