LETTER: Has charging blue badge holders freed up spaces in disabled car park?

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I am not in the habit of writing to newspaper letter pages but I have read with interest the comments about parking at the Royal Hospital at Calow.

As a regular visitor, at least once a month to outpatient clinics at the Royal, with an elderly and dependant parent, who I add is a blue badge holder, parking is certainly a challenge and a stressful one at that.

I wasn’t in the least surprised when the hospital trust announced parking charges for blue badge holders. Anyone with an ounce of sense would have investigated purchasing a multiple parking pass which works out at a fraction of the current parking charges, something that I did long ago because it was virtually impossible to park in the main blue badge holders’ car park.

One of your letters had comments relating to the so-called flash cars parked in the disabled car park - a ridiculous statement.

Another pointed out that the blue badge scheme has never been means tested and quite rightly so as money is irrelevant to an individual’s health and mobility.

As the main driver for a blue badge holder, I have seldom managed to get into the specific car park at the front of the hospital and like many others have been faced with total chaos approaching the hospital, weaving my way around other queueing drivers . At times this has also proved to be car park rage and stupidity of some drivers at its best.

When I have managed to get a space I have been surprised to see people sat in their cars picnicking and have witnessed several discarded used tea bags at my feet when alighting my vehicle - how pleasant. I can only assume that there are individuals who arrive hours in excess of their appointment time in order to ‘get parked up’ to avoid making any payment - a very selfish action if I may say so, but sadly this is the world in which we now live.

The proof for me certainly came recently — our first visit this year — and guess what? We parked in the blue badge holders’ car park with relative ease which could of course be a one off and the proof will be in the pudding when we visit for our next appointment. It does however pose the question that now parking is to be paid for by all, have those who have parked for free and clogged up this facility seen sense now it’s hitting them in the pocket?

I do believe however that once the cancer centre opens parking will become even more of a challenge due to increased patient numbers and this will most certainly need addressing. When the post office at Calow relocates to the shop at the Royal my guess is that Calow residents will only use it if they are not parking but again only time will tell. I wonder whose bright idea that one was?

Oh and incidentally last week’s ‘Frustrated’ in your letters page made some interesting comments. By the tone of the letter I would suggest that this person needs to wake up and smell the coffee to realise, as we are all reminded daily, that the NHS is struggling with budgets and an increased demand from patients for a variety of reasons.

We should all be mindful that regardless of what job an individual undertakes at Calow, whether it be a consultant, a receptionist, the person who makes the coffee or cleans the toilet, that the majority are doing their job to the best of their ability and deserve to be spoken to like a human being.

Perhaps if ‘frustrated’ is just that, then for an appointment running to the minute, they should consider paying for a private consultation, after all this person clearly believes they are a special case, and let’s hope they never have an emergency themselves and hold up an out patient clinic appointment for someone else.

It is far to easy in today’s world to moan and groan and forget about the needs of others.

C. E. White

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