"new car parking system at North Tyneside hospital"

About: North Tyneside General Hospital

(as the patient),

A very confusing new method of payment has been introduced at this hospital. Cameras take your registration number as you enter and leave the car park. On a recent visit to an appointment I entered the car park at 09. 05, went to the machine and paid £1. 20 for an hour and entered my car registration number as instructed. I left the car park at 09. 50. Much to my dismay I have received a very threatening bill from a company called Parking Eye stating I did not pay. I know that I did and have a witness to verify it, unfortunately I can not find a receipt. I have spoken to staff and other patients who all agree it is a terrible system and mistakes are being made.

People going to hospital are usually unwell, appointments can be delayed etc- and this new system and its threatening governance add to the stress of these visits.

If the cameras are so good, | am happy to identify myself paying at their machine. North Tyneside Hospital needs to change this system asap for the sake of patients and staff.

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Response from Northumbria Health Care

Dear Cara,

I am really sorry that our new parking system has been such a source of frustration for you.

I am not sure why you have received a penalty notice for non-payment when you state that you had clearly paid for your parking time. I have fed this information through to Steve Bannister, our Director of Estates, to see if he is aware of any recent difficulties with the machines registering payment.

On the reverse of the penalty notice is information relating to the appeals process which you might find helpful, there is also parking information on the Trust website under patients and visitors. I have included the link for you below.

I want to reassure that the new system does allow patients to top up their payment if their appointment time overruns, which will prevent patients from incurring a parking penalty charge. We have been able to create more parking spaces and if your appointment takes place within the hour, as yours did, then people can expect a reduced charge compared to what they were paying previously.

Overall there has been no increase in our parking fees for a number of years now.

I accept that none of this helps you in your particular circumstance but I wanted you to know that the decision to make these changes were not taken lightly.

We know that hospital car parking is often a contentious issue but pragmatically the income allows us to ensure our estates and environments are maintained over time at a high standard - this is important for patient care also.

You are absolutely right that it is not in our interests to make things more complicated or difficult for patients and families particularly when they are feeling vulnerable and nor would we want to.

We are continually working to communicate the changes to the public and actively promoting systems to allow free parking for those that need it most.

It is also essential that we keep listen to feedback if there are further changes we can make to improve the system, we will.

Steven can be reached on steven.bannister@nhct.nhs.uk and further information can be found by visiting www.northumbria.nhs.uk/parking

I hope this is helpful,

Annie Laverty – Director of Patient Experience

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Response from Annie Laverty, Director of Patient Experience, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust We have made a change

picture of Annie Laverty

Dear Cara,

Just to update you on the outcome of this. The Trust has made an important change and reached an agreement which will result in the termination of the management contract with Parking Eye on all Northumbria premises.

I hope this provides you with some assurance of our determination to listen and respond to the needs of our patients and the local people we serve.

Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention.

With all best wishes,


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