ANOTHER family has hit out at parking regulations outside the emergency department at Sheffield Children’s Hospital - after rushing their one-year-old daughter in for treatment and being stung with a fine for leaving their car without a ticket.
Gareth Bradley was stunned to find the £70 fixed penalty notice attached to his vehicle when he left the hospital where his daughter Chloe was being kept in overnight.
He and wife Beverley had rushed the one-year-old to A&E earlier in the day because little Chloe was struggling to breathe.
Their GP had advised them to head there immediately for treatment after becoming concerned about the tot’s condition.
Gareth, a first-time dad, said: “He told us we should get there straight away and that if she started turning blue on the way we should call an ambulance.
“We were already scared about what was going on - we didn’t know what was happening - so to be told that made us even more worried.
“When we pulled up outside the hospital it meant the last thing on our minds was checking the parking rules - we just wanted to get our daughter seen to as soon as possible.”
The 31-year-old, from Ecclesfield, said he did not realise the new regulations - brought in earlier this year - were in place, and said that signs he spotted later, advising parents to collect a voucher from the front desk, were unclear.
“I never knew about the parking rules,” he said. “As far as I was concerned it was the A&E car park and that was that.
“When it’s an emergency you’re not going to be thinking about collecting a ticket. I just think it’s a complete farce.”
John Reid, head of nursing at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Finding enough parking spaces for everyone who needs them at the hospital is a challenge and we are striving to provide the best possible solutions with the resources we have at the moment.
“We have worked closely with Sheffield Council to make sure the spaces outside A&E are for parents attending and being seen in A&E only, and are free for four hours so parents don’t have to worry about parking in an emergency.
“The signs outside have been changed and have been well publicised, there are also signs around the A&E area to remind parents. But we appreciate it will be a while before everyone understands the changes.”
He added any parent who receives a parking penalty notice can appeal the fine to the council, attaching evidence of their reason for parking - such as proof of attendance at A&E or other extenuating circumstances. People visiting the main hospital are not allowed to park there. The scheme is run by Sheffield Council and no money from the fines goes to the hospital.