No cheaper rate for short-term parking at hospital, at least until 2015

Hospital chiefs have rejected calls from borough politicians to lower the contentiously high parking charges at Watford General Hospital.

A hospital boss told councillors last night that there will be no change to charges until at least 2015.

Eric Fehily, associate director of infrastructure at West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust, said the trust was locked into a contract with the company managing it car parks and could not alter its fees until it ends.

The hospital trust has been under increasing pressure from residents and politicians to lower its high parking fees. Currently the cheapest parking ticket at the Vicarage Road hospital is £4 for three hours, which drivers have to buy no matter how short their visit.

After that motorists have to pay £6 for five hours or £12 to park all day.

In February, the Watford Borough Council’s overview and scrutiny committee investigated the matter and recommended health bosses introduce a new charge of £2.50 for shorter stays.

The proposal was backed by the town’s elected mayor, Dorothy Thornhill, as well the leaders of the council’s three opposition parties.

At the time the trust’s then chief executive, Jan Filochowski, said he would consider the £2.50 recommendation. However no changes have been made.

Last night, Mr Fehily returned to the overview and scrutiny committee to answer questions from councillors over the hospital’s parking set up.

Mr Fehily told the committee the trust had not introduced a cheaper fee as it had “significant difficulty” with the council’s recommendation in that the parking contract does not allow changes for a year and a half.

Mr Fehily added it would be expensive for the trust to break its contract with its contractor, CP Plus, before it finished.

Karen Collett, a Liberal Democrat councillor for Woodside, asked Mr Fehily if the trust would consider bringing in smaller parking charges for shorter stays after its current contract expired.

He replied that the trust was drawing up a business plan for parking after the current contract and would then tender its parking services to private companies.

Mr Fehily added: “We will be looking to the market as the expert to give us the solution.”

Councillor Rabi Martins, Lib Dem representative for central Watford, said he was disappointed the £2.50 recommendation has been “kicked into touch” and asked if it was in the trust’s business plan.

Mr Fehily replied he did not have the exact figures for the business to hand.

Councillors on the committee also asked about the current parking problems at the hospital.

Labour councillor, Asif Khan, of Leggatts ward, said when he recently visited Watford General it had taken him 40 minutes to find a parking space.

Mr Fehily said some parking spaces had been taken out of action at the hospital due to building work.

However he said trust was working on plans for a new multi-storey car park, which would ease the situation.

In the meantime Mr Fehily said the hospital was taking a soft approach when it came to penalising those who ran over on their parking ticket. He said: “It is not our style to penalise patients and relatives, as they are not going shopping.”

Comments (8)

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6:30pm Thu 22 Nov 12

jen72523 says...

personally i give someone else my ticket when ive been there fo appointments that have only lasted 30 min, i dont care if im not ment to.

other people have done the same, so they are actually loosing money by being so dam expensive.

ive even parked in town.
ive parked in a side road in the parking zone, got a ticket, disputed it and paid nothing

haha
personally i give someone else my ticket when ive been there fo appointments that have only lasted 30 min, i dont care if im not ment to. other people have done the same, so they are actually loosing money by being so dam expensive. ive even parked in town. ive parked in a side road in the parking zone, got a ticket, disputed it and paid nothing haha jen72523
  • Score: 0

7:38pm Thu 22 Nov 12

cameluk says...

jen72523 wrote:
personally i give someone else my ticket when ive been there fo appointments that have only lasted 30 min, i dont care if im not ment to.

other people have done the same, so they are actually loosing money by being so dam expensive.

ive even parked in town.
ive parked in a side road in the parking zone, got a ticket, disputed it and paid nothing

haha
We do the same thing, its a ripeoff having to pay £4 for a short stay to pop in and out
[quote][p][bold]jen72523[/bold] wrote: personally i give someone else my ticket when ive been there fo appointments that have only lasted 30 min, i dont care if im not ment to. other people have done the same, so they are actually loosing money by being so dam expensive. ive even parked in town. ive parked in a side road in the parking zone, got a ticket, disputed it and paid nothing haha[/p][/quote]We do the same thing, its a ripeoff having to pay £4 for a short stay to pop in and out cameluk
  • Score: 0

8:16pm Thu 22 Nov 12

Reg Edit says...

The NHS is ripping off the people of Watford.

They're not all angels in the NHS, are they?

These parking charges and their enforcement are a true disgrace. The NHS was just greedy to get into this contract in the first place. Shame on the NHS boss who greedily agreed to this.
The NHS is ripping off the people of Watford. They're not all angels in the NHS, are they? These parking charges and their enforcement are a true disgrace. The NHS was just greedy to get into this contract in the first place. Shame on the NHS boss who greedily agreed to this. Reg Edit
  • Score: 0

10:38pm Thu 22 Nov 12

Hornets number 12 fan says...

The whole issue of raising funds for the NHS this way really does make me sick!
They waste money hand over fist paying through the nose for equipment and services with all the money we've paid! Wonderful!!!
The whole issue of raising funds for the NHS this way really does make me sick! They waste money hand over fist paying through the nose for equipment and services with all the money we've paid! Wonderful!!! Hornets number 12 fan
  • Score: 0

9:25am Fri 23 Nov 12

phall lover says...

Dont buy a ticket . When you get a ticket from them tell them to stick it were the sun dont shine . They send solicitor letters to scare you into paying the fine . stick to your guns . Its not worth them taking you to court . Been there seen it done it .
Dont buy a ticket . When you get a ticket from them tell them to stick it were the sun dont shine . They send solicitor letters to scare you into paying the fine . stick to your guns . Its not worth them taking you to court . Been there seen it done it . phall lover
  • Score: 0

5:17pm Fri 23 Nov 12

Reg Edit says...

What a mess!
What a mess! Reg Edit
  • Score: 0

3:03pm Mon 26 Nov 12

garston tony says...

It adds ridicullous stress to what can already be a difficult time.

I remember a few years ago when the other half was taken into hospital having to rush around getting change and not knowing how long I was going to be there having to pop out every few hours to get a new ticket when all I wanted to do quite naturally was be with my wife. The stress level went up when having popped out I returned to find she had been moved and no one could tell me where too!
It adds ridicullous stress to what can already be a difficult time. I remember a few years ago when the other half was taken into hospital having to rush around getting change and not knowing how long I was going to be there having to pop out every few hours to get a new ticket when all I wanted to do quite naturally was be with my wife. The stress level went up when having popped out I returned to find she had been moved and no one could tell me where too! garston tony
  • Score: 0

10:36am Thu 29 Nov 12

Reg Edit says...

garston tony wrote:
It adds ridicullous stress to what can already be a difficult time.

I remember a few years ago when the other half was taken into hospital having to rush around getting change and not knowing how long I was going to be there having to pop out every few hours to get a new ticket when all I wanted to do quite naturally was be with my wife. The stress level went up when having popped out I returned to find she had been moved and no one could tell me where too!
Tony,

your point is well made and makes a folly of the NHS ripping off its customers. Free at the point of use? Not if you've got a car, and needlessly stressful as well as Tony shows.

The night doctors are at the hospital as well and so you need to pay for parking then as well.

It's not right, not right at all. Legalised theft.
[quote][p][bold]garston tony[/bold] wrote: It adds ridicullous stress to what can already be a difficult time. I remember a few years ago when the other half was taken into hospital having to rush around getting change and not knowing how long I was going to be there having to pop out every few hours to get a new ticket when all I wanted to do quite naturally was be with my wife. The stress level went up when having popped out I returned to find she had been moved and no one could tell me where too![/p][/quote]Tony, your point is well made and makes a folly of the NHS ripping off its customers. Free at the point of use? Not if you've got a car, and needlessly stressful as well as Tony shows. The night doctors are at the hospital as well and so you need to pay for parking then as well. It's not right, not right at all. Legalised theft. Reg Edit
  • Score: 0

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