A MUM has criticised new parking regulations at Sheffield Children’s Hospital after receiving a ticket for leaving her car at A&E as her son received help to dislodge a guitar plectrum stuck in his throat.
Stella Mathers rushed to the emergency department at 9.30pm when her 14-year-old son Sam got his plectrum stuck. She had tried to dislodge it using the abdominal thrust but struggled because Sam is 6ft 4ins tall.
Stella said she did not see signs in the car park telling motorists to collect a permit to prove they are using A&E.
She returned after Sam had been checked out to find a parking ticket ordering her to pay a £70 fixed penalty.
The 39-year-old said the policy preyed on people in difficult circumstances.
Stella said: “I was absolutely furious to arrive back at the car after all that stress and anxiety to find I had been given a parking ticket.
“It was late at night, getting dark and my son had been struggling to breathe because there was something stuck in his throat. Looking to check the parking regulations was the last thing on my mind.
“It’s like the wardens have found a fertile ground where they know they can prey on vulnerable adults.”
But hospital chiefs say the policy is in place to ensure that only patients using A&E have access to the car park.
John Reid, head of nursing at Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, said: “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 A&E to remind parents, but we appreciate it will be a while before everyone understands the changes we have made.”