"Parking at North Tyneside general hospital: equality issues"

About: Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

(as the patient),

Recently I asked some questions on https://www.patientopinion.org.uk/opinions/112873

Unfortunately none of the questions posed were answered, I have re-asked them and hope they will be addressed on that post.

Elsewhere in my post I mentioned disability provision. The answer received included the below which caused me to research a little and has resulted in more questions for the trust.

"So far 18,000 have been happy to register their blue badges with us and this has provided them with free parking"

I feel the trust is at best misguided when it comes to the Equality Act 2010. It should realise that every time Parking Eye send a charge notice to a disabled person they and the Trust are, in my opinion, in breach of the act.

The Equality Act 2010 and the EHRC 'Code Of Practice On Services, Public Functions And Associations' (Chapter 5 Indirect Discrimination) which became law on 6th April 2011.

Parking Eye and the Trust are service-providers who are relying on unenforceable terms which purport to create an inflexible contractual term 'requiring' disabled people to register a Council (on-street only) Blue Badge in order to use a disabled bay. In fact, the Blue Badge scheme does not even lawfully apply in private car parks - as is shown in the Blue Badge booklet and on the Government website. Companies such as Parking Eye might choose to mention the Badge on their signs but they cannot legally rely on it in isolation as the only indicator of disability need.

The EA takes precedence over any 'contractual' terms and a blanket term to register and display a Blue Badge is specifically an 'unenforceable term' as defined in the EA. It is an example of a blanket policy which seeks to limit the provision of the disabled bays to 'badge-display only' and thereby causes disadvantage to other people who have certain protected characteristics.

Examples of protected characteristics includes, among others, pregnant and nursing women and anyone with a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on that person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.

To be clear disability is not defined by mobility or the possession of a blue badge.

I would suspect that a large number of hospital users fall into these categories. What provision is in place for these people in regard to making reasonable adjustments in terms of parking fines?

How is the trust addressing the issues in regard to their and their agents misguided definition of disability and the signage in the car parks which states blue badge only in disabled bays?

Why did nobody at the various levels of decision making, up to and including the trust board, not appear to have even a basic grasp of the Equality Act 2010 prior to instigating these discriminatory measures?

What is being done to prevent disabled users, as defined by the Equality Act 2010 from being targeted by Parking Eye?

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