Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff today questioned the Leader of the House Chris Grayling over hospital parking charges and demanded a debate on the issue.
Last month the Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust made the controversial announcement that they intended to increase existing parking fees and also implement charges for disabled blue badge holders at its three hospitals, Dewsbury, Pinderfields and Pontefract.
In business questions this morning Sherriff asked:
“Dewsbury Hospital has recently introduced parking charges for blue badge holders, hoping to recoup £98,000.
“Simultaneously the same Trust has spent in the region of £12 million using external management consultants Ernst and Young in the last few years. One may question whether the trust has its priorities right.
“Will the Leader of the House agree to give consideration to holding a debate regarding hospital car parking charges.”
The Leader of the House responded saying:
“I know that hospital parking charges are a concern to many members across the house – of course this is a difficult balance for Trusts to find because this is money that goes into patient care normally. I understand the point that she is making. There is of course an opportunity to debate health service matters on Monday and there will be health questions after recess and I would encourage her to raise that issue with my colleagues in the department although I’m sure they have heard what she has said today”
Paula, who launched a petition against the proposed charges for blue badge holders at Dewsbury Hospital said:
“As soon as this was announced I made my position clear on the matter. I strongly believe these changes to be unfair. Disabled people often find it much harder to use public transport and taking a car to hospital in many cases is their only option. I have been contacted by distraught constituents who have to use the hospital multiple times a week for treatment such as dialysis and blood tests. Many are pensioners and have little disposable income.”
“I instantly wrote to the Chief Exec of the Trust when these plans were announced and I am due to meet with him soon to discuss the issue.”
Paula has a petition on her website calling on the Trust to scrap the proposed charges for blue badge holders. The petition can be accessed at www.paulasherriff.org.uk/blue_badge_parking.