Author Topic: SCRAP HOSPITAL PARKING CHARGES: £2.50 could've saved my dad's life  (Read 2053 times)

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Offline Web Admin

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SCRAP HOSPITAL PARKING CHARGES: £2.50 could've saved my dad's life, says grieving daughter

A GRIEVING family last night demanded the Government delivers justice to their father by scrapping unfair hospital parking charges.

Brian Akers died hours after leaving a hospital car park because he did not have any spare change to put in a meter.

His heartbroken daughter Kerry Akers claims the “stealth tax” killed him and wants his legacy to be an end to the punitive fees.

Mr Akers took himself to hospital with chronic chest pains but had no way of feeding the pay and display machine.

Instead, he drove to see his doctor who put his agony down to an infection rather than a fatal blood clot.

Hours later he was found slumped in bed by his wife. He had died of a massive aneurysm.

Ms Akers, 32, pregnant with her first child, has now backed Tory MP Rob Halfon’s campaign to axe the “stealth tax on the sick”.

She said: “I truly believe hospital parking charges killed my father. If he had gone to A&E he would have seen a specialist who wouldn’t have dismissed it as an infection.

“I 100 per cent support this campaign because if it can prevent what happened to my dad happening to someone else then his death will not be in vain. Who knows who else this has happened to.”

Heating engineer Mr Akers, 57, from South Woodham Ferrers, Essex, attempted to park at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford but gave up when he had no spare change.

Worried he would be slapped with a fine, or even have his work vehicle clamped, he was forced to drive 30 miles to a GP surgery where he had an electrocardiogram test.

Brian Akers attempted to park at Broomfield Hospital car park but gave up when he had no change

He returned home to rest but was found dead when his wife returned home from work.

Diabetic Mr Akers, described as the “life and soul” by his distraught daughter, died two weeks after he walked her down the aisle in case campaigners say epitomises the unfairness of hospital charges.

The scandal has seen patients and charities unite to demand an end to rip-off fees which in some cases now cost £4 an hour.

Former minister Mr Halfon, the MP for Harlow, launched a petition on the Government website after a nationwide outcry that the sick had become a target for money-making health bosses. It is the first serious attempt to scrap sky-high fees.

Headway, the brain injury association, premature baby charity Bliss and CLIC Sargent, the children’s cancer charity, together with FairFuelUK and MPs from across the political divide have backed the push.

Tory MP Rob Halfon's campaign is to axe the tax on the sick

If it gains 100,000 signatures it will be considered for debate in Parliament. The petition, signed by 14,000 people in just a week, urges the Government to act, saying charges affect the vulnerable, visitors of ill relatives and hardworking NHS staff.

Oxfam humanitarian worker Ms Akers from Beaconsfield, Bucks., said: “Almost six years after dad died we are still searching for answers. Dad hated going the doctors so the fact he took himself to hospital on his own just shows how serious he thought this was.

“He was a hardworking, law-abiding man. We pay our taxes so we all have equal access to NHS healthcare but parking is a barrier to that equal access. He couldn’t pay so instead of parking illegally he decided to take himself to his GP but what if he had an accident and hurt someone else? He would have supported this petition because scrapping the charges is the right thing to do.

“I get angry when I think that £2.50 could have saved his life but his death has motivated me to seek change and I am glad there is huge momentum behind this campaign because scrapping these charges is the right thing to do.”

The official cause of Mr Akers’s death was given as pulmonary thromboembolism, a blockage of an artery in the lungs. No inquest was held and the family have not sought compensation. Instead they say justice will be gained if hospital parking in England is made free, like it is in Wales and Scotland.

Kerry is expecting her first child

Father-of-two Mr Akers was found dead on the same day he went to hospital - November 20, 2012.

Later the family were forced to pay through the nose for hospital parking when Kerry’s mother, Lynne, 62, was admitted to Queen’s Hospital, Romford, with a brain tumour.

Mrs Akers, 62, said: “My ex-husband lost his life unnecessarily. If he had made it to hospital they would have kept him in and he would still be alive.

“His death poses more questions than answers. It all seems to have been brushed aside and minimised. Brian’s death was needless death. Everyone is entitled to use the NHS but to die from not having enough change for a car park seems utterly senseless.”

Ms Akers is expecting her child in November, around the anniversary of her father’s death. Her brother Phillip, 29, who also backs the campaign, marries later this year.

Government guidance issued in 2014, and updated a year later, advised NHS trusts to slash fees but the diktat has been ignored by trusts who see patients and staff as cash cows.

Mr Halfon wants to see the guidance ripped up and replaced by a set of hard and fast rules which trusts have to obey.

Since highlighting the scandal the Daily Express has been inundated with harrowing stories from dozens of patients and relatives who pay through the nose for the privilege of parking at a hospital.

Mr Halfon said: “This case exemplifies, in the worst way, the terrible impact hospital car parking charges can have on the most vulnerable. I was deeply concerned to hear about what had happened and my thoughts are with the family. Many view these charges as a necessary form of income for hospitals but this simply cannot be justified if they have direct impact on the care people can get and, ultimately, their lives.

“I have been campaigning against these fees since 2014. The Government has introduced guidance but it’s being ignored by NHS Trusts. If this petition reaches 100,000 signatures, we can bring the issue back to Parliament and urge the Government to scrap these charges - and bring an end to this stealth tax - once and for all.”

NHS trusts in England are free to set their own rates with patients now paying on average £2 for a one hour stay. The racket saw trusts trouser a record £174million from parking in 2016/17.

Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust in the West Midlands made £4,865,000 while Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust raised £3,946,312.

Kerry Akers is backing the campaign to scrap parking charges

Trusts in Derby, Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds all earned more than £3m while around two-thirds raked in over £1m with 40 NHS trusts out of 120 in England making nearly £1m from parking fines alone.

England’s most expensive car park is the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford which charges £4 an hour and £6.50 for between four and six hours, although blue badge holders qualify for a discount.

Patients using Chelsea and Westminster Hospital between 8am and 6pm Sunday to Friday are charged £3 for up to one hour of parking but the rate jumps to an eye-watering £7 for a stay between one and two hours. Those parking for more than 10 hours have to pay £40.

Hereford County Hospital, run by Wye Valley NHS Trust, charges £3.50 an hour, the same as Stepping Hill Hospital in Stockport, while at the Bristol Royal Infirmary patients pay £3.40 for 60 minutes.

Offline The Bald Eagle

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Re: SCRAP HOSPITAL PARKING CHARGES: £2.50 could've saved my dad's life
« Reply #1 on: 15 June, 2018, 11:29:49 AM »
You can sign Robert Halfon's petition here.

Offline DastardlyDick

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Re: SCRAP HOSPITAL PARKING CHARGES: £2.50 could've saved my dad's life
« Reply #2 on: 18 June, 2018, 07:22:31 PM »

Offline 2b1ask1

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Re: SCRAP HOSPITAL PARKING CHARGES: £2.50 could've saved my dad's life
« Reply #3 on: 19 June, 2018, 09:08:58 AM »
Willing to do my bit...

Offline Overlord

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Re: SCRAP HOSPITAL PARKING CHARGES: £2.50 could've saved my dad's life
« Reply #4 on: 19 June, 2018, 01:13:26 PM »

Offline scalyback

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Re: SCRAP HOSPITAL PARKING CHARGES: £2.50 could've saved my dad's life
« Reply #5 on: 20 June, 2018, 01:49:36 PM »
Me too!


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