Friday, 25 February 2011

Some R & R (Relief and Rant) !

First off the source of my relief.

My darling granddaughter Flic was admitted to hospital earlier this week suffering from pneumonia. She is now back home and responding to antibiotics, so you can see where the (enormous) sense of relief comes from.
And now for the rant.

Hospital Parking Charges

Flic has not been well for the past week, but as she seemed to be getting worse, rather than better my daughter took her to the doctors on Wednesday morning and was told that the doctor suspected pneumonia and to take her directly to the hospital at Durham.

This is what my daughter obviously did and on arrival collected a ticket from the barrier and was admitted to the car park. The car park is the type where you collect a ticket on entry and then pay at a machine prior to exit which validates the ticket to allow you to get out through the exit barrier. 

Now it took time for all the appropriate tests, xrays etc. to take place and results to be checked and all the time my daughter was not only frantic with worry for her daughter, but increasingly stressed by wondering if she would have enough money on her to pay for release from the car park. She let this slip on one of the many calls I made to her to get up to date information about my Granddaughter's condition - and I was able to reassure her that if necessary I would make the 39 mile round trip to give her the money. As it was the hospital decided to keep Flic in overnight as her oxygen levels were low, so the 39 mile round trip had to be made to take supplies for them both into the hospital. As by this time however it was quite late, I was able to park in the 20 minute drop off area - drop off the things and go.

Next morning my daughter rang to say she may have to stay in for another night, so eldest daughter and myself travelled back to the hospital and this time parked up so that we could go in and look after Flic while her mam had a chance to freshen up and get something to eat. My middle daughter was once again worried about the parking charges as by now we calculated they would have run up to £8. Although I was able to reassure her that I would pay them she quite rightly pointed out what would have happened if she hadn't had family to support her. We were very relieved however when the doctor told us that Flic was responding to the antibiotics and could go home without an additional night's stay and it was with a feeling of simple relief that I gave my daughter the required £8 parking fee.

My daughter is a single parent who currently has to survive on benefits though she is currently undertaking an access course so that she can go to University and hopefully build a better life for herself and her daughter. She lives in a rural area that at the best of times is not well served by public transport, so although it's a struggle for her to maintain a car on the road, if she wants to better herself and get to college each day she needs to do just that.  Obviously though money is tight and she simply could not afford car parking charges of £4 a day on top of the additional expense in getting to the hospital in the first place and having to buy food from the branded Costa Coffee outlet within the hospital. 

My daughter is lucky she has the back up of family that are both able and willing to help her, but I worry for those who do not have this luxury. Goodness knows what additional stress this imposes on people who are already ill and stressed. . I didn't object to paying for my car parking when I went in to help (£3 for 2 hours) and I don't object to paying as an occasional visitor, but I don't think it is fair that those who are in hospital or attending for medical appointments should have to pay these charges, this seems to me a tax on the ill and the vulnerable.

Apparently in 2009 the Labour Health Secretary Andy Burnham promised to scrap the fees, for all in-patients and for outpatients who have to make regular appointments, but the coalition says there are better uses of public money than scrapping car parking charges.

Where is this "fair" society that our government keeps telling us about?

Sorry about the rant, and a big thank you to the doctors and nurses who treated our little Flic and got her back on the road to recovery.


  1. Glad to hear she is on the road to recovery. These charges are shocking, sometimes if you get a sensible ward manager they can override the charges, they did this for me at the RVI when my boy was in there, I guess it just depends.
    Kandi x

  2. Goodness! What a week you've had!
    So pleased to hear Flic's on the road to recovery:0)

    Our hospital charges are extortionate too...£18.00 for 24hrs!
    £72 for our four day stay. You can't afford to go to hospital at that rate, and my daughter is classed as disabled so we HAVE to park in their blooming car park!
    And no 'let off's' here! They want your blooming money!
    Sorry, now I'm ranting on YOUR blog :0)
    No how you feel though my lovely bloggy friend.

    You all take it easy and have a good weekend :0)

  3. I'm glad she's getting better now. What a worry for you all.
    Before we lost her,Mum was in hospital for two months last year and it cost us a fortune. xxx

  4. So glad Flic is doing well! As for the charges, who can afford to pay those costs! It just adds to the pressure and worry!

    On another note, I see your daughter is on an Access Course - I did one and went on to get A BSc and a Masters! They really are a great way to get back into education!

  5. Glad to hear that your granddaughter is on the mend. It's terrible that these car parking charges exist. Like you say it's not so bad if your a visitor and paying for the odd hour or so but when its something a bit more serious you should be exempt x

  6. Glad Flic is getting better, no wonder your poor daughter was so upset with the worry for her and then the parking charges on top to add to her stress. I can't believe they charge you for it! The hospitals here don't charge, but finding a space is almost imposibble, takes about 30 minutes of driving around to find a dodgy place to park where you're hopefully not in the way. Not sure what we'll do when I go into labour in Sept as that hospital has a 4 hour return policy in the car park and then you get a £40 fine!! So no idea where we should actually park.. Anyway, hope Flic recovers soon! :) x

  7. Glad Flic is on the mend. The hospital by me charges too and I think it's terrible. It's he last thing people want to think about when going into a hospital x

  8. :-( what a scary time, so glad she is OK. Tell me about it, those hospital charges make my blood boil! What makes it boil more is them also charging staff aswell, they must make a mint!

  9. As someone who has to attend hospital regularly I undeerstand your rant only too well. At one time I had to attend a certain hospital which was amongst a group which had the highest charges within the NHS. And now I attend a local hospital, am only in there 30 minutes at most, but have to pay for an hour. They have no 20 minute or 30 minute parking fees, no drop off zone where you could park for a short period of time... well, that's not strictly true, there are about a dozen spaces by the hospital entrance and you'd have to be there at about three in the morning to find an empty one! So my husband parks in a nearby housing estate, sits with a book and I give him a call using the mobile phones to come and get me.
    On a happier note, so pleased all is getting better with your granddaughter, it must have been very stressful for your daughter as a single mum, one of those times, that despite having family, you really feel the single parentness. Wish them both well.

  10. I really don’t understand why hospitals charge for parking, I know that might sound daft but why can’t it just be free?
    After all the people themselves are obviously sick/seeking treatment and family and friends visiting too should not have to worry about paying a parking fee.

    The important thing here is that your granddaughter is back home and on the mend. It must have been a scary time for you and your daughter.

    p.s Thank-you for the kind words on my last post, in fact your comment really did make me smile. The rejection (in letter form, phone call if I’m lucky, or the most common form- we can’t let everyone know, only the successful candidates so therefore can only presume you haven’t been successful) it makes my blood boil it really does. I wish I wasn’t so sensitive but I genuinely take it as a personal rejection, they don’t like they way I look etc, but in fact maybe they had 10 people with better experience than me xxx

  11. Its outrageous to be in hospital having to park your car outside and pay charges - disgusting, disgraceful, absurd there are many names I can think of for this!!

    BTW good luck on your daughter's recovery and her completing her course and having a wonderful career x

  12. Oh poor Flic! I'm glad to hear that she's recovered now but it must have been horribly worrying for you all.

    Hospital parking is ludicrous - I drove one of my best friends to hospital when she was having a miscarriage and ended up having to drop her off to go in by herself because I couldn't even find a sodding parking space and had to ditch it about a mile away on a normal road instead. As for the prices - I'd pay less than that for parking in a brand new multi storey car park in the city centre!

  13. The hospital parking fees are RIDICULOUS!!!. Although they are there for two reasons... First to make money out of suffering people who need to go to hospital and have no other choice but to use the car parking, and the other for a few people who unfortunately abuse the free parking laws and would park their cars all day... while going elsewhere. Which then makes people who honestly need to use the car park... nowhere to do it so.
    Anyway... good news for your lovely granddaughter and daugther. It must have been a very difficult week for all of you.
    Good wishes,


  14. Hi hun
    glad to hear Flic is now brighter....what ascary time it must've been for you all x x x
    I know how you must feel about the fees. My hubby was rushed into hospital before Christmas...he nearly died. Thankfully he is ok now but like your daughter I was worried about the fees all the time.
    It's stressful enough as it is to have someone so ill and visit them etc but then to worry about things like parking and food on top is just a nightmare.
    Big hugs all round hun
    Hope this week brings you better times my lovely...
    Karen x x x

  15. Hi - sorry about having such an awful time - hope thing sare on an even keel now - I am your partner in the swap - contact me at will then send you a message and you can give me your address as the swap is almost ready to come - take care

  16. I do hope that Flic is still on the mend and things are looking up?

    Thinking of you all x

  17. you have my sympathy on all counts
    so glad all is well now
    sorry couldn't leave comments sooner due to blogger problems

  18. Hi, I actually work there and have money deducted from my wage to provide me with a parking permit. However, we are not guranteed a parking space. I live a 20 min drive from the hospital but when starting work for a late shift (1pm-9pm) I have to leave the house at 11.45 and drive around and around the carpark waiting for a parking space. I also worry about families who have to visit their loved ones in hospital who ae often the main wage earner. The cost of parking each day plus the cost of having to pay for TV in hospital is very depressing.
    Hope she feels better soon x

  19. How did I miss this post?! Just having a catch-up online, and came across a few issues here that I really recognised. So glad your wee one is ok- its such a horrible worry having a child in hospital, and your daughter must have been having kittens. Hope that things are settling now- glad Flic is doing well. Its so lovely that you have each other, especially when things are tough emotionally and financially. xxx


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