Wallsend man's anger over hospital parking fine after delay getting medication for disabled mum

ParkingEye quashed a fine Paul Hathaway received for parking at the Freeman Hospital to collect medication for his mother after ChronicleLive contacted them
-Credit: (Image: Paul Hathaway / Newcastle Chronicle)

A Wallsend man was fined over hospital parking after picking up medication for his disabled 87-year-old mother.

Paul Hathaway, 64, was fined after overstaying in the parking spaces at the entrance to the Freeman Hospital in May. The spaces are designed for pick-ups and drop-offs and have a maximum stay of 20 minutes.

Paul thought that picking up the medication for his mother would be a simple task and done in less than 10 minutes. But unfortunately delays at the pharmacy saw this take over half an hour - and he was subsequently issued with a £40 fine by privately-run car park operator Parking Eye.

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Though his appeal was initially rejected, Parking Eye has now moved to quash the fine as a goodwill gesture, having consulted with the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust which runs the Freeman.

Paul told ChronicleLive what had happened. He said: "My disabled mother visited the hospital on May 22 this year. She's 87 and I'm 64 myself. On that day she was prescribed two medications to be dispensed by the hospital pharmacy but when they went to get the medciation the was a very large queue - it was going to be more than two hours - so we decided to leave and collect the medication later. I decided to wait the next day to go and pick it up.

Paul - a retired NHS worker himself - said he had parked at the front entrance to the hospital expecting to be able to simply walk into the premises and pick the medication necessary up from the pharmacy. He said he'd have been surprised for this to take longer than around ten minutes.

However, he said the dispensing of the medication was delayed and as such he was recorded as having spent 38 minutes in the parking spaces - well over the advertised twenty minute maximum. Paul had previously challenged the fine unsuccessfully, claiming the fine was due to circumstances - the delays at the pharmacy - outside of his control.

"The situation I was in was that doing a good deed for my mam has resulted in a £40 fine," he added. "I'd rather the money go to charity."

A Parkingeye spokesperson said: “Parkingeye has partnered with the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust at Freeman Hospital since 2013 to significantly improve how it’s car parks operate.

"The car parks feature prominent and highly-visible signs providing information on how to use the car park responsibly. Motorists are advised that the Main Entrance Drop Off Area has a maximum stay of 10 minutes with a no return of 10 minutes.

“The motorist received a parking charge for parking in the Drop Off area for 38 minutes, additionally they would also have had the option to park in the main visitor car park. Following consultation with the trust, we have agreed to cancel the parking charge."

The NHS Trust emphasised that the parking areas at the front of the hospital should only be used for pick-up and drop-off - and those using hospital services should park in the main car park.