Whittington hospital accused of disabled discrimination over lack of parking bays

PUBLISHED: 17:40 02 August 2013 | UPDATED: 17:40 02 August 2013

Susan Woodward

Susan Woodward

Dieter Perry

Whittington Hospital has been accused of “indirect discrimination” over its disabled parking policy.

Family members of disabled people have criticised the hospital in Archway for having only three parking bays – with a three-hour limit subject to a penalty ticket of up to £90 – outside the main entrance.

Although more spaces exist to the rear near A&E, campaigners calling for more disabled parking say it is too far away to walk to certain sections of the hospital.

They say it also means that many disabled people and their families are forced to break the law by parking on double yellow lines outside the entrance, and face costly fines.

Susan Woodward, 53, told how she took her registered disabled 83-year-old mother to the hospital for a knee replacement last Friday only to receive a ticket after taking longer than expected.

Miss Woodward said: “They allow you to park on yellow lines for three hours, but that’s not the point.

“How long do you know you’re going to be when you’re disabled?

“I wanted to be with my mother right up until she went down for the operation, which was longer than three hours.

“When I came back I had a ticket.

“I think it’s indirect discrimination to only have two disabled spaces outside the main entrance and that you can only park in them for three hours.

“There are more around the back, but in my mum’s case that would have been too far to walk – this is her second knee replacement, she had slipped discs in her back, has asthma and chronic kidney failure, she doesn’t want to be walking long distances.”

Freedom of Information figures show more than 750 fines have been issued to disabled blue badge holders in the borough over the past three years.

Whittington Hospital serves more than 500,000 people across Haringey, Islington and Camden and has 11 disabled parking bays.

Elizabeth Jones, 85, of Yerbury Road, a registered disabled blue badge holder, was given a penalty charge notice when a friend stopped in a disabled bay outside the Whittington Hospital in Magdala Avenue while she went inside for an appointment.

Although it was a disabled spot, the only driver allowed to park in it lives nearby.

She said: “The spaces should be at the front of the hospital, but there’s just not enough of them.

“We simply need more parking for disabled people.”

A spokesman for Whittington Hospital said: “Parking at the hospital site is very limited.

“However, we do provide 11 disabled bays, which are situated next to the Jenner entrance.

“Unfortunately we have no control over parking bays on the public highway. We are always looking at ways to improve access at the hospital for patients with disabilities. In this particular case we would invite the patient or the patient’s carer to contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) to see how we can help to support future visits.

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