A MUM has hit out at new parking regulations outside accident and emergency at Sheffield Children’s Hospital after she was stung with a £70 fine when she left her car without a permit while her daughter received treatment.
Diana Turner branded the scheme ridiculous, saying most parents arriving at the A&E unit would be in a rush to get their child to medical attention and would be unlikely to realise or remember to pick up a permit.
She said she did not give a thought to checking the parking regulations when she arrived at the hospital with her three-year-old daughter Billie Beckingham, who had suffered an allergic reaction to a dressing applied to a cut on the inside of her leg which had become infected.
The Ecclesfield mum believed the old rules were still in place, meaning she would be safe to leave her vehicle in the car park for up to four hours while she and Billie were in A&E.
However, the Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust introduced new rules on April 1, designed to ensure the limited number of spaces available are used for A&E patients and their families only.
Visitors are asked to pick up a permit at the A&E reception to display on their car. Any vehicles found without such a ticket are slapped with a £70 fixed penalty notice.
The scheme is run by Sheffield Council, who receive the proceeds of any fines handed out.
Diana, who also claimed the signs do not make it clear that only patients visiting A&E are allowed to use the car park, said: “If you have a child who is bleeding or who is seriously unwell it just seems ridiculous to expect that you would come back out of A&E to put a parking ticket on your car.
“And when you’re rushing in to be seen like I was you don’t really have the time to be reading signs and checking up on things.
“I just assumed it was like it always had been, if you were lucky enough to get a space then you were safe for four hours.”
John Reid, director of nursing at the 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 we have made.”
People who receive tickets, but who can prove they were in A&E or have other extenuating circumstances, can appeal against their ticket with Sheffield Council.