Perth nurses' parking fines outrage
Nurses at Perth Royal Infirmary are being hit with frequent parking fines while tending to the sick within the hospital's wards.
- By Dave Lord
- Published in the Courier : 31.03.10
- Published online : 31.03.10 @ 04.20pm
Despite the removal of charges from the hospital's car parks, some have been left owing several hundred pounds as zealous wardens pounce on cars belonging to staff members.
Nurses are allowed to park for free at the hospital, although they must still display a ticket — valid for eight hours — within their vehicle.
If the ticket expires while they are still at work they are left liable for a £30 fine — rising to £60 if it is not paid promptly.
Nurses insist they are often unable to "down tools" at the end of a busy shift and say they are being victimised while looking after often very seriously ill patients.
When contacted by The Courier, a spokeswoman at NHS Tayside admitted the board was aware of the problem and insisted officials were working to find a remedy.
However, one nurse who asked to remain anonymous said she was "horrified" by the situation.
"We are regularly incurring totally unfair parking fines and there is very little we can do about it.
"When working on an early shift staff are expected to be on the ward and ready to receive report at 7.30am."
The nurse continued, "Their day is supposed to finish at 3.30pm, but unlike a lot of professions, where it is okay to down tools when the day is finished, nurses are still on the wards after their finishing time, either with paperwork or emergencies.
"It would therefore be impossible for an eight-hour ticket to cover the time period."
The nurse said they are being left to risk stringent fines — pointing out that the only alternative could lead to increased health risks for patients at the hospital.
"Staff are having to leave the ward on their lunch breaks to change tickets," she continued.
"Having to leave the hospital in uniform and running to the car park cannot be correct as there are clearly infection control issues."
Nurses have also raised concerns over the availability of eight-hour spaces, insisting they are often forced to use short-stay spaces instead.
Ignored by management
They feel their valid concerns are being ignored by management.
"When late-shift staff start at 2pm it is impossible to find an eight-hour parking space and they therefore have to use three-hour spaces and have to leave wards to change tickets," the concerned staff member explained.
"Estate managers are not interested in the worries of staff members who are incurring hundreds of pounds of parking fines.
"Nor is the car parking company interested.
"In fact it is impossible even to speak to a member of their staff to explain your situation," she said.
"The tickets being issued advise staff to contact them in writing within 10 days or the £30 fine will increase to £60.
"However, busy nursing staff who are receiving these tickets on a daily basis do not have the time to do this.
"It is totally unreasonable and we feel we are being punished simply for doing our jobs conscientiously."
An NHS Tayside spokeswoman confirmed that health chiefs were "aware" of the problem and added that they were "currently looking at solutions."