Crash survivor says St Cross parking charges are ‘cashing in on disability’

Di Charlton is unhappy with the parking charges at the Hospital of St Cross
Di Charlton is unhappy with the parking charges at the Hospital of St Cross

A woman who nearly died in a motorbike accident said people with disabilities are being short-changed with parking fees at Rugby’s Hospital of St Cross.

Di Charlton, who was left without the use of one arm and has memory problems after a serious crash, thinks charges for disabled people should be less than able bodied motorists.

She said: “I was shocked to find that the concession for being a disabled driver had been removed and that I had to pay the normal rated charge.

“My disability means that not only do I need to park in a marked and convenient site but also that it takes me much longer to complete an appointment there due to restrictions on mobility.

“I really feel the hospital is cashing in and I think it’s appalling.”

Di, 45, landed on her head after a motorist pulled out on her when she was travelling in Australia.

“I know I’m lucky to be here,” she said.

The former teacher said people with disabilities could take longer on hospital appointments, especially wheelchair users.

“Surely the hospital should consider the substantially increased time needed for a wheelchair user to complete business at the hospital, but yet they offer no reduction on the charge which, to me, seems to be cashing in on their disability,” added Di.

“I had to attend for a blood test and may have been back to the car in the 30 minutes which is allowed for free. I think that’s unfair too as they are giving a concession to able-bodied people which really is no advantage to a person with physical difficulties as it is very unlikely someone with difficulties or in a wheelchair could turn around that quick.”

A spokesman for University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire NHS Trust, which runs St Cross, said: “The parking charges for disabled people were introduced at the hospital in June 2014 because of the rise in maintenance costs that needed to be covered.

“We appreciate that parking is an emotive issue for people, but if we hadn’t have put these charges in place the maintenance would have had to have come out of patient budgets which we didn’t feel was appropriate.

“However, we do our best to help a large proportion of our visitors and patients. For example, we have our own concession scheme in place which includes free parking for renal dialysis patients, patients who have to attend multiple times can have concessions at a maximum £3 per week and free 30 minute parking for patients with a valid ticket available from the parking machines. We also operate an NHS travel concession scheme for patients on income support.”

“We would be more than happy to talk to Ms Charlton to discuss her concerns.”