A nurse is being forced to pay £700 in fines after having to park on the street during her shifts.
47-year-old Louise Amery works as a chemotherapy specialist at the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton, East Sussex, and she is slamming her ‘immoral’ council for the hefty fees which she’s racked up while at work.
When the hospital car park is full, the nurse uses on-street parking bays, but many spaces nearby only have a four-hour maximum stay limit – which don’t accommodate her 10-hour shifts.
Although the hospital offer staff permits, Louise is unable to get one because she is an agency worker.
The 47-year-old explained:
I do think it’s immoral what [the council] do around the hospital with the parking.
There’s some hospital parking but that’s always full so I’m forced to park on the street. The parking bays are available from 8am, there are 11 hour bays which are generally always gone.
They have these four hour bays where I’m physically forced to move my car during my break times.
Louise tries to move her car during her 45-minute lunch break, but she often doesn’t have the time due to her workload.
As a result, the 47-year-old is often ticketed, and she has racked up £700 in fees which she is struggling to pay after suffering financial problems last Christmas.
I get 45 minutes for a ten-hour day and it’s a stressful job. You get that break to just debrief a bit and eat lunch.
I feel that, ‘okay fair and square, I’ve not followed parking restrictions so I’ve got ticketed’. I can see it logically.
But morally, I think there should be some concession for staff parking but more importantly it’s patients.
I’m not alone in being ticketed or being fearful of being ticketed. They are making a mint out of quite vulnerable people. They could do more 11 hour bays and that will sort it all out.
Louise has since been threatened with legal action from the council over the unpaid fines. She’s been trying to speak to staff over the phone, but is repeatedly met only with an automated message.
The specialist went on:
I’ve know the debt is mounting and I don’t know where to pay first, and they won’t speak to me.
I don’t have £100s floating around as a nurse. I won’t go out, I will cut down on spend on food. I haven’t planned a holiday because I haven’t got the money.
I’ve tried to tell the council I’ll be able to pay it all off in the future, but I can’t get through to anyone, it is all automated messages. One day I called four times and it just rang out. I burst into tears.
My debt has been passed to a collection agency and now it has gone up from £35 per ticket to £100 each. I’m just being bounced around by everyone.
A Brighton and Hove City Council spokesman responded to the situation, saying:
We value our hard working nurses and hospital staff and would always try to help and give advice with financial difficulties relating to parking tickets, so it would be helpful to know when Ms Amery contacted the council and see the email she received.
The issue of parking and the issuing of parking tickets takes place without knowing who owns the vehicle or what their profession may or may not be, as was the case here.
The spokesman continued:
If someone illegally parks then they will receive a ticket, and that is the same for everyone. There is a clear appeals process in place which is outlined on the tickets which we’d suggest the nurse follows.
There are hundreds of staff who work at the hospital and are probably in the same situation.
We would suggest she speaks to her manager and other hospital colleagues to find out what parking arrangements they make and also ask the hospital itself if they provide staff parking.
Hopefully the council will start to offer more long-stay bays for staff at the hospital to avoid the difficulties faced when the car park is full.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.