|the top sign is far too high to read|
The Barnet Hospital parking problem for the disabled.
As Mr Mustard correctly predicted in the local Times newspaper back in August when it started, parking, for many visitors to the hospital isn't working out well which makes it a triumph for Parking Eye (Capita) as the profits will be rolling in, and it is the disabled who seem to be bearing the brunt of the problem.
Many regular disabled visitors didn't notice the new signs and why would they look for them as all they have to do on the street is to put their blue badges out. Technically blue badges have absolutely no legal standing on private land as the legislation that enacted them only considered the public road. What has happened is that lots of disabled people have put their blue badge on display, gone to their appointment and then a few days later received a "parking charge notice" through the post from Parking Eye which demands £100 within 28 days of the issue of the demand or the lesser sum of £60 if paid within 14 days of the date of the demand. For council tickets you always get 14 or 28 days from the date of arrival of the demand so Parking Eye are applying time pressure to people who are probably sick and thus behind with personal paperwork as they have other more important things to think about.
The other logistical point which springs to Mr Mustard's mind is that councils are not allowed to use cctv where a blue badge would be valid as the camera can't see it (the vast majority of cctv enforcement will soon be stopped on the public highway). The Rt Hon Eric Pickles who very sensibly acted to stop big brother ticketing needs to have a chat with his ministerial colleagues in the Department of Health and force hospitals to revert to a local system of blue badge checking on the ground so that the disabled don't have to traipse off to reception to register their blue badge. The disabled are being forced to register their cars when all the able bodied have to do is to pay at a meter near to their car so the disabled are being discriminated against when they should be treated better (due adjustments should be made for their condition).
What to do if you get a parking charge notice?
1. Complain locally. Update 4 Feb 15. Reception have the power to cancel the parking charge notice.
Go to reception and ask them to cancel the ticket although Mr Mustard thinks they will say they can't as only Parking Eye can do so which, if correct, is wrong as it is the hospital's car park and they should retain the right to insist upon cancellation; a blue badge holder whose chemotherapy ran late really shouldn't have to explain their medical details to a representative of a parking company; this is distressing, confidential and personal information.
Take your blue badge with you to prove you have one although it isn't strictly necessary as if you are obviously disabled but don't have a blue badge the necessary adjustment should still be made due to your disability.
You could ask PALS (Patient Advice & Liaison Service) to get involved (firstname.lastname@example.org) although they too can probably only support you in the process. The hospital have erred. They should train PALS and reception to cancel these parking penalties in suitable circumstances.
You could tweet about it to #RoyalFreeNHS as like all large organisations they are image conscious and will fall over themselves to help in order to present a friendly public face.
If the hospital and/or Parking Eye don't deal with you sympathetically think about appearing in the Barnet Times paper as it may help other people. (Chief Reporter Anna Slater)
2. Challenge the penalty.
The main stumbling block for private parking companies is the fact that they have to show what their "Genuine pre-Estimate of Loss" is. In this case as you don't have to pay as you have a blue badge, once you disclose the existence of a blue badge there is no possibility of a loss. If you like to deal with these things yourselves, all well and good. You can get help by:
a. googling about Parking Eye (you will get thousands of results)
b. looking at the Parking Prankster site
c. looking at the Parking Cowboys website
d. using the Pepipoo forum (odd name but a great source of knowledge)
which will soon have you armed with strong arguments.
3. Pay for expert help
If Mr Mustard gets a request for assistance with a private parking ticket he sends the person to this website
There are modest £5 and £10 fees to pay and the people offering this service really do know what they are doing (they know far more than Mr Mustard about private tickets)
If you can't deal with stress then this commercial and efficient service is the answer. It is what Mr Mustard would do if he got a parking charge notice at a hospital (or a motorway services several of which he stopped in for 30 minutes or so this week).
4. Do not ignore the problem; it will not go away.
On no account ignore the parking charge notice (those days are gone). Fight the penalty at every stage and keep to timetable.