HEALTH chiefs must do some “soul searching” in a review of parking charges for disabled people.
That is the view of MP Paula Sherriff after the plan was referred to the board of directors at the Mid Yorkshire Hospital NHS Trust.
Blue badge holders have to pay up to £2.80 under a trust-wide policy which came in last month.
Ms Sherriff (Lab, Dewsbury and Mirfield) put pressure on the trust to act after receiving complaints from disabled constituents.
In a letter to trust chief executive Stephen Eames she highlighted two of many cases she has learned of.
She wrote about a man struggling on the state pension who attends hospital every week and says that parking fees would “tip him over the edge”.
Another man with inpatient appointments for several weeks faces a £100-a-month parking bill.
She added: “Especially alarming is the number of constituents who have informed me that as a direct result of the implementation of parking charges, they would not turn up for their appointments.”
Ms Sherriff welcomed an earlier indication from Mr Eames that the board would review the policy.
She wrote: “I do sincerely hope that the board will do some soul searching and consider the impact that this levy has upon the most vulnerable members of our society.”
A trust spokesman said: “We had a productive meeting with Paula Sherriff MP and discussed the car parking charges as part of this.
“The MP asked for her concerns about the charges for blue badge holders to be raised with the trust board.
“We agreed Paula could attend a future board meeting and put forward her views in person.
“Introducing a capped car parking charge of £2.80 for blue badge holders means we can invest in parking provision for this group of motorists across our three main hospital sites.
“We have kept the charges in line with other NHS trusts, public sector organisations and off-street car parks in Wakefield and North Kirklees.”
l Trust chairman Jules Preston MBE has been re-appointed until March 2018 on “remuneration” of £39,800 a year.
The decision was confirmed by the NHS Trust Development Authority on Monday. Mr Preston’s term runs from April 1 2016 to March 31 2018. He joined in October 2012 from the Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust.