'Just another way to make life difficult for the sick': Reaction to hospital parking charge changes
PUBLISHED: 11:44 20 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:44 20 May 2019
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A new system for car parking charges at a Norfolk hospital have provoked outrage and frustration from the public.
People using a privately owned car park at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) now have to pay for their parking up front, after the company which manages the car park made changes to the payments system.
But hospital visitors have not taken kindly to the changes by Bullen Developments, concerned about paying more than they need to for parking or risking a fine if their appointment runs on longer than expected.
Some went as far as to accuse Bullen and parent company R G Carter of "profiteering" from the sick and vulnerable.
On Facebook, Wendy Reynolds said: "So I'm supposed to leave my elderly wheelchair bound mother alone in the waiting room to top my parking charges up, when her consultant can be running 45 or 90 minutes late!...It's bad enough that we have to pay a private firm, but to do changes like this without warning is despicable."
Melanie Vout said the charging changes were "just another way to make life difficult for the sick".
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Others said many visitors could lose out by paying for more time than they thought they would need as a precaution.
Jo Woods commented: "How exactly are you supposed to pop out and top up your parking during your appointment of when you're waiting to be called in...? My bet is that it's been done deliberately so that users will pay extra in advance 'just in case'."
Alison Sexton added: "The previous system worked fine, so the only reason they can have is to make people put extra in 'just in case' and profit more."
Maria Soames tried to find a positive in the situation, saying: "Another great reason to use the park and ride based at Costessey."
Dave Home called the parking changes "an outrage". He said his wife had been "directed" to the Bullen car park by attendants when she visited the hospital for a blood test.
"She found it confusing and there is no '30 minute' free time which she usually uses so it cost her £3 and as she didn't know how long she was going to be (does anyone know how long they will be attending any hospital?) she was concerned over the parking charges," he said.
Bullen Developments said the new systems had been implemented as a result of feedback, that the cost of car parking charges would not be affected and that it would monitor the changes to ensure they worked effectively and efficiently.