14 Feb 2013
Stop hospital parking charges for disabled drivers
UPDATE: St Albans Council agreed my proposal below, and will also be calling the Board of the Hospital Trust to appear before a Council committee in April. In the meantime, we've started a petition on this. Please sign here.
To the shock and surprise of many, the West Herts Hospitals Trust has announced plans to start charging disabled drivers (at least £4 per visit) to park at their hospitals (St Albans, Watford and Hemel). At the same time, they are axing the staff bus service between the hospitals.
Some people think this is a decision by St Albans Council. It isn't, but the council should be actively opposing it. So I will be proposing the following motion at the next council meeting on February 26:
(i) notes figures from the Papworth Trust showing that, compared to people without disabilities, people with disabilities are more likely to need to visit a hospital, more likely to be unemployed, more likely to be on a low income, and have higher day-to-day living costs
(ii) notes a national survey by the Papworth Trust that reports that "86% of disabled people will have to cut back on everyday essentials, like food or transport", if their Disability Living Allowance payments are reduced or stopped this April
(iii) notes with regret West Herts Hospitals Trust's decision to start charging disabled patients for parking at its hospitals and to simultaneously remove the bus service that takes staff between sites
(iv) in the light of (i) and (ii) above, disputes the Trust board’s statement that their decision “will create fairness and equality for everyone needing to use the hospital car parks”
(v) asks the Chief Executive to write to the Trust's board asking them to reverse this decision.
At the same council meeting, we'll be debating the budget again, because the Conservatives have decided not to accept the amendments we all voted on last time. Hopefully, the opposition parties will be able to back the amended budget once again.