Get involved! Send your photos, video, news & views by texting SB NEWS to 80360 or e-mail us
Russells Hall hospital bosses hit back in "illegal" parking charges row
8:00am Wednesday 2nd October 2013 in News
DUDLEY hospital chiefs have hit back in a row over parking fees which a campaigner claims break anti-discrimination law.
Mr Daniels, aged 60, claims the hospital is discriminating against disabled people, who take longer to get to hospital buildings and so have to pay more for parking as a result.
He said: "You have to say the hospital is at fault, the only way many disabled people can get to hospital is by car, they are making money out of people who are not very well.
"What they are doing is wrong and they are contravening the Equality Act 2010."
The act says public bodies have a duty to eliminate discrimination and advance equality of opportunity.
Last year Medway Maritime Hospital in Kent made an out of court settlement to alter its charges for blue badge holders to avoid legal action by disability rights campaigner Sue Groves MBE, who slammed their charges as a "tax on the disabled".
However bosses at Russells Hall are standing by their policy and say they have no plans to cut charges for blue badge holders.
Paula Clark, Chief Executive at Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust, said: "The Dudley Group is in a contractual relationship with our Private Finance Initiative (PFI) partners in the running and funding of our car parks.
"There are no plans to change parking charges or who they apply to at this time.
"Blue badge holders are not treated less favourably than non-disabled drivers and are subject to the same car parking charges. The Trust complies with the government requirement to provide spaces for blue badge holders.
"We acknowledge that blue badge holders can face more difficulty in reaching their destination and so blue badge parking bays are provided near to our buildings and entrances to minimise the distance involved.
"Non-disabled drivers have to park further away from the entrances. There are also drop-off points located at each of our main entrances allowing people to be dropped off as close to their destination as possible."
Ms Clark added although she agrees public transport may not be an option for blue badge holders, there is a non-emergency hospital transport service for patients whose medical condition prevents them from getting to and from hospital.
The car parks at Russells Hall hospital are owned and run by Summit Healthcare (Dudley) Ltd and Interserve Facilities Management.
The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust expects to receive around £300,000 this year from the PFI parking deal.
Comments are closed on this article.