"Car park - inadequate signs, light, paypoints, unclear machine instructions and high cost"

About: Royal Free Hospital

(as a service user),

I'm extremely unhappy about the car parking arrangements which have resulted in a me receiving a penalty notice. The signs say we can pay at any time for parking but it does not say how or where. I wasted 20 minutes wandering round trying to find a pay point and then trying to work out what to do. It seems that hiding the machines and having so few of them means more money can be squeezed out of us because we have to pay for the time looking for the machine and queuing while people try to work out what to do has to be paid for as well.

I then could not work out from the machine how to pay for more than 1 hour - there were no clear instructions for using the machine and more particularly for increasing the time. Several other people were having exactly the same problem - who designs these things? Anyway having paid for 1 hour I went away hopeful that the signs were true about paying later.

On returning to the car park I queued to pay, tried in vain to sort out how to use the machine to buy more time then called the so-called helpline (more extra cost) who said he'd put me through to a payment line. Unfortunately this was an automated line, it was difficult to hear and follow the instructions because I had to keep flicking backwards and forwards between listening and keying in numbers. I opted not to pay extra for a text confirming payment which was a big mistake because I now have no proof of payment.

All in all a ghastly experience and I shall not be returning to the car park ever again.

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Response from Philippa Hutchinson, Head of Communications, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust

Hello - would you mind emailing your details to rfh.communications@nhs.net and I will forward this to our parking manager.

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Response from Royal Free Hospital

Hi there, we're very sorry to hear that you had trouble in our car park. If you like us to look into this for you, please email rf.pals@nhs.net with further details. Thanks.

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