There are two topics a company should probably not talk about and we all know they are religion and politics. But an article caught the eye of our CEO this morning out of the manifesto of the Conservatives which we think is “a-political” and that is the pledge to cut parking fees in hospital car parks (see https://bit.ly/2qEY8UN ).
Like our CEO you may have had to visit a loved one or friend in hospital or been a patient yourself. Would you agree there is nothing more annoying than fumbling in your pocket or handbag for the three pounds coins (because the machine doesn’t accept a card payment) to pay for a space you didn’t really want but you have to use?
It is a fact of life in Britain today that we have become a nation of “penny pinchers” about how and when we charge citizens for routine services. Parking at a hospital is not “a jolly”. You’re not there for shopping, or entertainment (which might just about justify a charge although we don’t like that either). No, when you go to a hospital its about your health or someone close enough to you who needs treatment or support. To be charged parking fees is just downright mean.
And whether you agree with us on that or not there is then the whole issue of charging hospital staff to park at their place of work – and worst still charging them parking fees going back as far as possible to recoup income! A report in the Guardian earlier this year (see https://bit.ly/2KO4Lek ) highlighted the plight of hospital staff. It commented “NHS staff in England paid nearly £70m to park at hospitals in 2017-18, according to data from NHS Digital, while patients and visitors were charged almost £157m. Only 15% of the £226m total was ploughed back into the NHS. Much of the rest went to private firms contracted to patrol the car parks. According to David Carrod of the British Motorists Protection Association, the system is designed to line the pockets of enforcement companies at the cost of staff and patients.”
Nurses, doctors, and their support teams deserve our complete and utter support for the work that they do to maintain the health of the nation. Penny pinching them for parking fees is again just an act of mean stupidity and worse – the income generated from the activity is lining the pockets, not of hospitals, but of parking companies and enforcement agencies who engage in this type of business.
Compare the situation in the UK to a hospital where Shergroup provides security services in the sunshine state of Orlando, Florida. In that “parking lot” no one is charged for parking except if they decide to use the valet service so an attendant parks the car and brings it back to the front entrance when they are finished with their visit. We appreciate the UK isn’t Florida – but wouldn’t it be better if parking at hospitals was universally free?
As with all manifesto’s, the documents put forward by the political parties in the run up to the general election are a statement of intent which can be “flexed” with the changing tides of fortune and political rhetoric. But at least the politicos are talking about an issue which annoys so many people because it is misguided. They are “on point” to see this as an issue which the public want tackled.
For us here at Shergroup we don’t like seeing people charged these fees, we don’t want to be called upon to enforce these fees, and we think the issue of charging for parking on any scrap of land or road has got out of control. Enforcement companies make money out of enforcing low level fees which are increased with additional charges and interest to take them into the High Court enforcement arena. It is not the role of the High Court to enforce silly parking fines! We add our voice to those of the British Motorists Protection Association – ban parking fees and fines in hospital car parks, give doctors and nurses and support staff exemptions to be able to park where necessary to care for a patient, and frankly just stop being so mean-spirited!
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