"Confusing and exploitative parking system at time of family grief"

About: North Tyneside General Hospital / General surgery

(as the patient),

I wish to complain about the Parking Eye System which you have at Rake Lane Hospital. In mid March I was informed that my great aunt’s condition had deteriorated and that she was expected to pass away within the next 24 hrs. I therefore supported my Nana who is 92 years old to visit the hospital to say her final goodbyes. It was Friday night, the car park was not busy and it was dark and windy. I tried to figure out how the Parking Eye worked. I entered my car registration into the machine but nothing happened. I didn’t understand the system and there was no one around to ask. During this time, my Nana was distressed, sitting waiting in the car. I observed that the first 10 minutes were free. I knew that our visit was not going to be long, so hoped that this would work out. We visited my aunt, which was very important for my Nana. Unfortunately, we then got totally lost trying to find the exit and found ourselves walking back the long way round (outside).

On the day of the funeral in early April, I received notice of a fine from Parking Eye. A reminder followed, with a demand for £70. Yesterday I received further correspondence from Parking Eye: ‘Letter before County Court Claim’.

I feel that it is unethical for a hospital to use this car park company. The system seems to be designed to be confusing and it exploits people when they are not in the best state of mind.

I would appreciate it if you can advise me on the process of appeal.

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Responses

Response from Annie Laverty, Director of Patient Experience, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust We have made a change

picture of Annie Laverty

Dear Sir / Madam,

Please forgive me. As part of my end of year stock take of all feedback received in 2014, I have only just discovered that the frustrations you shared about parking way back in May of last year has remained unanswered on the Patient Opinion site.

I am extremely sorry, this is not our usual practice - I usually try to respond to all posts as quickly as I can, out of respect for those who have taken the time to share thier views.

It does look like the error is ours because there is evidence that your story has been read - but I will be taking this up with the team at patient opinion who are keen to work with us to help us understand why it has happened.

I am sorry - given the serious nature of your complaint I can appreciate how this ommission has potentially added insult to injury.

I am not sure if you are aware but after listening to the views of many patients, families and members of the public, the Trust took the important decision to end its contract with Parking Eye. We are very grateful to all who took the time to raise their concerns. It illustrates the importance of websites like this one and the commitment of Northumbria to act on the feedback received.

With all best wishes and apologies once again,

Annie

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