Stoke Mandeville nurse hung out to dry by NHS Trust over parking fines

Suzanne and Dean Whiting are unhappy with the lack of support they have received from Buckinghamshire NHS Healthcare Trust
Suzanne and Dean Whiting are unhappy with the lack of support they have received from Buckinghamshire NHS Healthcare Trust

Nursing sister Suzanne Whiting has been hit with a spate of backdated parking fines, despite having the correct permit for where she works at Stoke Mandeville Hospital.

The fines are from UKPC, who administer Stoke Mandeville Hospital’s car parks.

The Buckinghamshire Healthcare Trust advises nurses who work at the hospital to ignore and challenge these fines from UKPC if they have the necessary permits.

However Suzanne claims that the trust has hung her out to dry, saying she now must pay the fines.

She already pays £20 a month just to park where she works.

Just last month we reported on how UKPC had fined disabled Darley Julian-Horsley £120 for stopping for five minutes in a regular bay to use the bathroom, as all the disabled spots were full.

He was taking water tablets for a condition that made him need to use the bathroom or would face excruciating pain.

Speaking to the Herald, Suzanne told us how she had received several threatening letters from SCS solicitors threatening pre-court action.

The fines date back to 2016, and relate to Suzanne not displaying the correct permit, which she had left in her partners car.

Another time it had slipped off the dashboard and was on the floor.

Despite these explanations, UKPC are pursuing the claims against Suzanne, who works in the burns ward.

Suzanne said: “We informed the trust at the time in 2016 that these were simple errors and they advised us to pay up, as they could do nothing about it.

“The trust will not do anything about it because they make 10% profits on all charges!

“We wrote to UKPC and they said that our appeal was unsuccessful and we had to pay or we would be taken to court and potentially get a CCJ.

“We expected a court summons but nothing happened for a while.”

However on 28 June 18, Suzanne received a letter from SCS Solicitors out of the blue, warning them of pre-court action for unpaid charges dating back to 2016.

They received two letters back-to-back, posted on the same day.

Suzanne thinks that the back-to-back letters amounts to harrassment.

They have written to UKPC and advised them that we will not be paying.

Suzanne added: “Basically because the terms are unreasonable, the fines are exorbitant, the demands are aggressive and the appeals process is opaque and biased towards a multi-million pound private parking industry.

“I am appalled that the trust allows its contractors to treat its staff with utter contempt, especially when they work so hard and do amazing things for patients every day.

“Employees of the trust just want to go to work and deliver high quality care, not get ridiculous inflated charges for minor infractions for their endeavours.

“The trust has means to use ID cards to allow access into its car parks and does in most of the staff car parking areas, but fails to activate them for all of its car parks across its sites.

“If it did, there would be no need for staff car parking permits and in turn additional parking charges!

The trust can and must do better than this.”

A trust spokesperson said in response: “All of our main hospital staff sites have dedicated staff parking bays.

“So that we can ensure that visitors are not parking in staff areas, staff are able to apply for a staff parking permit to be displayed on their dashboard. “One of the regulations that staff agreed to was that if they are displaying their staff parking permit, they are not able to park in patient and visitor areas and their parking permit needs to be clearly displayed, otherwise they are liable to a parking charge notice being issued by UKPC, who are engaged by the trust to manage our car parks.

“Our property services team works closely with UKPC and every effort is made to ensure our parking provision is as accessible, easy to use and fair as possible for all those who visit or work at our sites.

“If anyone thinks that they have been unfairly issued with a parking charge notice, they have the right to appeal to UKPC who will consider appeals on an individual basis.

“In this particular case, we have no record of the parking charge notices being appealed with either UKPC or the trust.

“Suzanne is a valued member of the team and our CEO has been in contact with the Whitings so that he can discuss the matter personally with them.”