"Treated like a liar when parking at Northampton"

About: Northampton General Hospital (Acute)

(as the patient),

I had to visit Northampton General Hospital on 5th June to have an MRI scan at 0800hrs. This was a positive experience, until I tried to pay to leave the car park, (there is a card system in operation, when you park you are issued with a card and when you return you place card in the machine and it calculates how much you owe, and then you pay into the machine).

When I parked up at 0740 the entrance machine gave me a card and I noticed it was cracked but assumed it was ok as the machine had issued it, when I tried to pay for my parking two machines would not read the card, so I found an attendant who told me that I needed to go to main reception however this was not open until 0900 (it was currently 0835).

I went to main reception at 0900 and they directed me to the travel office, I explained my situation to the receptionist, i.e. I had been issued with a broken ticket and could not get out of the car park, she then spoke to a second lady, who then went into a second office and had a dialogue with an unseen person, I was asked when I parked.

I was then told that they had checked with two different people that it was impossible for a broken ticket to be issued by the machine and i would have to pay with a damaged card, I replied I was not happy with the situation as I had not done anything to the card, the card was broken when it was issued, the staff stuck to their stance and insisited that not only did I pay for my parking (£2.20) I had to pay £5 for the parking card and I should consider myself lucky as if I had parked any later in the day I would have been charged £20. I had no choice but to pay.

The thing I resented the most was being treated like a liar, also I am currently on unsalaried maternity leave and money is very tight. I was also concerned about the fact if they assume the machines would not issue a broken card, when quite clearly with my experience they do, staff may eventually be confronted with an irate person who is not as reasonable as was when I was in not so many words called a liar, this puts the staff at risk.

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