Carmen Reichman's Blog

Behind the Headlines – a current affairs blog

News story (Barking and Dagenham Post): Hospital parking fees for disabled

Blue Badge holders will have to pay for parking at Queen's and King George

Plans to charge disabled drivers for parking in some spaces at King George and Queen’s Hospitals have come in for strong criticism.

Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust, which manages the two hospitals, would not say when the measure would be introduced, only that it was necessary to “improve traffic” within their designated car parks.

A spokesperson for the trust said: “We are introducing a new parking policy to improve traffic management on both our sites.

“Currently, those with disabled badges have to call through to security to be released from the car park without charge. This takes a considerable time and has led to problems of abuse from some frustrated drivers.”

The badge holders, who have enjoyed free parking in the past, will now face the same parking charges as all other drivers within the barriered parking spaces.

But they will still be able to park for free in the open car parks, which provide 74 disabled spaces at Queen’s and 56 at King George hospital.

Sydney Robertson, 63, of Woodshire Road, who regularly takes his disabled wife to Queen’s, said: “I think it’s disgusting. There are people that are worse off than others who have to go to the hospital more often.

“They will have to go all the way from the main car park, which is further away and is exposed to bad weather.

“The traffic in the car parks is horrendous. But that’s because they are often full not because of disabled users trying to get out.”

A spokesperson for Mobilise, a charity promoting mobility for disabled people, said: “Introducing parking charges for Blue Badge holders is unfair. It will cost disabled people more money as they have to go to hospital more often than other people.”

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