Trust under fire over parking fees appeal bill

ANGRY campaigners have slammed debt-ridden hospital bosses for paying out thousands of pounds to a private car parking company.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the Eastbourne DGH, employed County Parking to oversee its car parks for four years.

But the company pocketed £10 from the Trust every time someone launched a successful appeal against their parking fine until its contract came to an end in February.

A Trust spokesman said there were, on average, 10 successful appeals every month for the last four years, meaning County Parking received at least £4,800 from the Trust.

He said the £10 was used towards an administration charge. When the contract ended hospital chiefs decided to police parking within the Trust.

Chair of the Save the DGH Campaign Liz Walke said such decisions are what landed the Trust in financial hot water. The Trust starts the new financial year with £4.7 million debts.

She said, “This is an absolute disgrace. This may explain how the Trust, with a legacy of deficit year on year, continues to make losses. They should scrap charging the public and patients.”

Nick Perry, who led a campaign against parking charges following a litany of complaints from patients, said, “I hope the Trust’s chief executive will be writing to the company to ask for the money back. It has trousered £5,000 for doing its job badly.

“I am pleased the company has been shown the door and delighted the Trust will be doing it in-house. Hopefully there will be a less zealous approach to parking enforcement.”

The Trust spokesman said, “When the contract came to a natural end we felt doing it in-house would be easier and fairer and offer a greater deal of flexibility and tolerance.

“The fines have also been reduced from £40 to £35.”