New parking contractors at Southport Hospital “may have been a little over-enthusiastic”,  Southport & Ormskirk NHS Trust Deputy Chief Exec Damian Reid told health watchdogs.

“We are working with them to see how things might be improved,” he said.

People caught parking incorrectly in the grounds of Southport or Ormskirk Hospitals are currently being asked to pay a £100 to the parking contractors for ‘breach of contract’ for not parking in accordance with the instructions on signs around the hospital.

A major issue is ‘misuse’ of disabled parking bays and parking in parts of car parks where there are no marked bays. Drivers enter the first car park they see and, once through the barrier, cannot find a single non-disabled space.

“If the patient with them is late for an appointment and is sick or disabled, some of these drivers have parked where they thought it will be OK and ended up with this huge bill.”

“A big issue remains for disabled patients who do not have ‘disability’ passes and who are not even entitled to them, despite having serious difficulties in walking,” local health watchdog Councillor Tony Dawson told the Sefton Council Health Scrutiny Committee.

“This is because their disabilities have only just developed or will be too ‘short term’ to permit them to get a disability pass, which requires the person’s disability to be lasting for more than six months. They can still be profoundly disabled, whether due to an injury or a medical condition, and they need to be parked close to a hospital entrance.”

“Anyone approaching the hospital with a disabled patient needs to have the confidence that they can park, free and short-term, close enough to a hospital entrance to be able to get their patient into the hospital in any weather and then, maybe, move their car to a paid car park if they are going to be staying with the patient,” says Cllr Dawson.

“It is not just patients and their relatives being caught this way”, the Southport Lib Dem councillor says. Staff members, too, have complained that they have been ‘done’ for not parking in a marked bay even when they are essential car users.”

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