Council proposed to charge blue badge holders to use surface car parks, but not for now!!!!

A fantastic result folks!!!! Our new Council has decided NOT to charge disabled people to park on surface car parks. Many thanks to everyone who signed the petition and supported us in this endeavour.

The petition got enough votes for STAND to address a full Council Meeting on this issue. We can only hope that they reconsider. We have had an assurance that STAND will be consulted before these proposals are implemented.

 

The Council are trying to raise £30 000 per year by charging disabled people to park. Members of STAND are very concerned about this proposal. Please sign our e petition here  Epetition  The petition went live on Friday 13th March and by Saturday night we had 120 signatures. Please ask everyone you know to sign this petition. We want to ask the council to think again.

April 15th and we now have 260 signatures asking the council to think again and 10 against. Please ask everyone you know to sign the petition as we would like the Council to know the strength of feeling about this issue.

We do not believe that they will raise that amount of money because disabled people will either park on yellow lines or go elsewhere. Few will pay to park so the council will not raise the money, in fact it will cost them as they will have to pay to make the car parks disabled friendly. All the parking meters will have to be accessible and many will have to be re sited. The pay and display method of parking will have to be changed to one that does not force disabled people to walk further than they are able. The no win no fee lawyers are available to take on disability discrimination cases free of charge, so unless all of this work is done prior to charging some one could bring a legal challenge, which again would cost the Council to defend and even more should they lose. Members also believe that the council  would  be discriminating against disabled people because abled bodied pensioners have their travel cost subsided whereas many disabled people cannot use the buses and so cannot benefit from this subsidy. Disabled people pay their poll tax but cannot access many of the council run services.

Please let us know what you think.

It is apparent from emails received that people with disabilities who work in town centres are going to be severely affected by the Council’s decision. The vast majority of car parks within travelling distance for a blue badge holder are short term, which means that disabled people who can park there now will be prevented from doing so when this measure comes into operation. DISABLED PEOPLE FORCED OUT OF THEIR JOBS or they can put themselves in great pain and distress by attempting to walk further than they can manage. This from a Council that it’s citizens told them to protect vulnerable people.

http://webapps.stoke.gov.uk/uploadedfiles/Budget-proposals_Final-2014-V5.0-compressed-secured.pdf  page 12.

http://webapps.stoke.gov.uk/uploadedfiles/Budget-final-proposal-presentation-4-Feb.pdf

STAND have received no reply from their request for a costing on how much it will COST  council to make the car parks and method of payment disabled friendly.

Many thanks to the people who filled in the Councils’ consultation forms. These will form the basis of serious discussions about how the issues raise can be resolved.

New Government Advice on Hospital Parking Charges

On Saturday 23rd Aug 2014 BBC news announced that the Government was to issue new advice to hospitals about parking charges, including the news that disabled people should be given concessions or free parking,. See the full article here http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-28905695

See the Government advice here Government Guidance on Hospital Parking Charges

See the comments by the Sentinel 5th Sept. 14     http://www.stokesentinel.co.uk/Legal-action-taken-disabled-parking-spaces/story-22879998-detail/story.html

At a meeting at the hospital on 5th December 2014 Nan Sharp and Mike Brown delivered a report “Department of Health Guidance on Car parking Issued 23.8.14- Implications and recommendations for UHNM” where they outlined what the hospital needs to do in order to meet these guidelines. With effect from Jan 1st 2015 blue badge holders will have 1 hour added to the time they have paid for and the hospital will ensure that Pay on Exit capabilities are built into the design brief for the additional car parking investments 2015/2016

Patients Association Sept 14

Hospital Parking Charges
Hospital parking charges and fines continue to frustrate patients across England. Many patient groups and individuals up and down the country have called for trusts to either scrap charges or place a cap on them. The Patients Association continues to hear from patients who are angry about the current situation, which many feel is an unfair tax on the sick.
 
Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said,
 
“We have been concerned about hospital car parking charges and fines for many years. We receive many calls to our Helpline from patients who are outraged that hospitals are using this as an opportunity to bring in funds.

Going to hospital can be stressful and patients do not need further stress by having to worry about the cost of parking or about any fines that they may incur. Many hospital appointments frequently over-run, particularly those involving specialist treatments such as chemotherapy. It is not fair that these patients should be worried about rushing back to their cars to top-up the meter in such a situation.


Hospitals should be properly supported by the Government without having to rely on charging and fining patients and visitors to make ends meet. Car parking charges make a mockery of a service supposedly free at the point of need and we urge the Department of Health to scrap this policy, and end this charge on being sick.”

Drugs Shortage

 

At our AGM members complained that when they went to collect their medicines from the pharmacies there were often items missing as the pharmacy had not got them in stock causing great problems for some disabled people as they needed to get a taxi to collect their medication.

STAND emailed Andrew Pickard Pharmacy Advisor|Staffordshire and Shropshire Area Team|NHS England and he has offered to come to our meeting to talk about this problem.

The Patients Association had this article in their latest newsletter:

Patients being “harmed” by drug shortages 
One in three GPs have said that their patients have suffered as a result of shortages of common prescription drugs. A poll of GPs has revealed that more than nine in 10 family doctors have been forced to write prescriptions for “second choice” medicines because the drug they wished to provide was out of stock.

In recent years, scores of medicines, including those for breast cancer, arthritis and schizophrenia have run low because drugs intended for British use are being diverted abroad for profit, while others have been subject to production problems.

Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, said,
 
“We are deeply concerned to learn that patients are still being denied access to key medicines. This crisis began several years ago and it would appear that it has still not been resolved. Patient safety is being compromised and we would like to know what the government is doing to address it.” 
 
“Having access to the medicines prescribed by their doctor is a basic right that all patients should be able to expect. It is appalling that in 21st century Britain, patients are unable to receive even this most basic of services. This is not only dangerous for patients, but also inconvenient for overworked doctors who are frantically trying to find alternatives for their patients.”

I will let members know when Andrew will be coming to discuss this with us as soon as arrangements have been made. Andrew has provisionally booked to come to our meeting on 2nd Dec 2014. This will be confirmed closer to the date.

Andrew gave a brilliant talk with advice for members about what they can do to ensure they get their medications on time.
 

UHNS Provides Extra Pay and Display Machine

Following our photographic report  STAND Photographic Report on Disabled Parking at UHNS on 11th March 2014 which highlighted several problems regarding disabled people paying for parking and the distance they have to travel to use the pay and display machines, UHNS have provided an extra machine outside A&E to cut down the unacceptable distance that disabled people (and others) had to travel.

Meir Health Centre reverses the decision to close the disabled car park access after 5pm

Meir Health Centre Management has closed the door from the disabled car park after 5pm although some surgeries are open until 8pm thus denying disabled people the opportunity to access appointments after 5pm.

STAND contacted Healthwatch, Community Health Voice, Rob Flello MP, Local counsellors and The Sentinel to try to get this decision overturned. An immediate response from Healthwatch and Alex Smith from the Sentinel who is trying to contact patients from Meir Health Centre to get their views. If you would like to let Alex know what you think of this please ring 01782 864141.

17th July 2014

Rob Flello MP wrote to the Centre Management about this issue.

21st July 2014

I have just heard that the management have been convinced to reverse this decision, so the doors to the disabled car park will remain open while the building is open to patients.

A huge thank you to everyone who got involved with this issue. It is only with YOUR help that we got this decision overturned and also received agreement that any future proposed actions that affect patients, will be discussed with the surgeries and with patients BEFORE they are implemented.

22nd July 2014

Alex Smith from the Sentinel is writing a story about this issue.Meir Health Centre

Winton House PIP Assessments

PIP investigation: Council probes ‘shockingly poor and dishonest’ assessments

March 17 We are aware that some members are unhappy with the PIP assessment not reflecting the extent of their health issues. See Above.

Feb 2016 I have been told that our website is being used by people who have an assessment interview at Winton House as they are concerned about being able to access the interview rooms so I have added a little here to help.

Parking is a big problem at the venue, there is a bay for a few cars but is often used by other members of the public. If you have a blue badge there is a short stretch close to the disabled entrance with single yellow lines. Most of the streets nearby have resident only parking by permit and the other areas are parked up by students or by people who work nearby.

If you elect to travel by private hire just be sure you know how much they will charge you for the journey as some have been known to overcharge disabled people. Taxis have to charge the price on the meter.

Distance from the disabled entrance it is a long walk to the assessment rooms, through several sets of double doors. There is a call button to ask for assistance at the disabled entrance however if you feel that either the distance or the parking is going to be a problem for you, you can ask for a home assessment. STAND was assured when we raised these issues with Capita that people could elect for a home assessment. If you have had a problem with getting a home assessment please let us know via this website.

Staff when we visited Winton House the staff/ assessor could not have been more helpful. If you do have problems please let us know.

STAND was asked to look at access issues at Winton House when people are called for assessments for their Personal Independence Payment. Members reported problems and so we did a photographic report (see link below). Capita were contacted about the results of this report and asked to give us their response within 14 days.

Attempts at emailing the full report met with problems as their email given on their website does not accept attachments. An expensive phone call to their office did not resolve the problem so the report was sent without the photographs with our web address so that they can access the full report. Copies were sent to CAB, Healthwatch, and our MPs.

Winton House Access Report 17 Click on Link to read this report

An immediate response from Joan Walley MP.

 Dear Pam
> Having read your report I am very concerned indeed about the apparent failure to ensure the building is compliant.
> I will raise this directly with Capita and with the DWP. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Joan

21st July 2014

Both CAB and Healthwatch are now involved with this issue. No response from Capita.

Sept 14 Reply from Andy Parker Chief Executive of Capita via Joan Walley

Dear Ms Walley,

Thanks you for your letter dated 3rd Sept 2014.

I am sorry to hear of the problems “STAND” have encountered regarding Capita and PIP. I have forwarded your correspondence to the appropriate person within Capita to investigate this case further.

A further response will therefore follow in due course.

Yours sincerely,

Andy Parker

Chief Executive

Oct 14 Representatives from STAND met on site with a representative from CAPITA and several issues around improving access were raised. We had a very useful meeting and several improvements were discussed including a new intercom system so people could call for help, electric opening doors in the corridor, a loop system for hearing impaired and further discussions on other improvements.

Joan Walley sent us a letter confirming these arrangements.

Jan 2015 Members from STAND did a site visit and were very pleased to see that all of the issues we raised and the improvements suggested had been carried out, with the exception of the parking problems. Well Done CAPITA.

March 2017 We are hearing of people who have opted for a home assessment due to the problems of parking by Winton House and they are saying that Capita is making this very difficult. If you have experience problems please let us know.

UHNS has refused to stop charging for disabled parking

University Hospital of North Staffordshire UHNS p2UHNS p3 UHNSp4 UHNSp5 UHNS p6

Tristram Hunt and Paul Farrelly MP wrote to Mark Hackett, Chief executive of UHNS asking him to stop charging disabled people to park until they could install a disabled friendly parking system that does not require disabled people to increase their travelling distance in order to pay. Mark Hackett refused basically saying that the trust could not afford to do this as they needed to ensure that the “car parking service is not subsidised in any way from funds that would otherwise be intended for the provision of direct patient care”. He did say that  they were actively looking at other solutions such as pre booking and Number Plate recognition. See the full reply by clicking on the link above.

UHNS Disabled people given extra parking time from Jan 1st 2015 and will not be fined if clinics over run

Great news Folks, From 1st Jan 2015 the extra parking time for blue badge holders will be 1 hour instead of the 30 minutes granted to us last May.
Morning Pam
 
Re: STAND
 
Many thanks for your e-mail
 
With regards to public transport, I can advise that the Trust has been actively engaging with local pubvlic transport service providers to expand and strengthen the range of services to – and through – the UHNS site for our patients, visitors and staff. Further details are available through the Trust Internet Pages athttp://www.uhns.nhs.uk/Howtofindus/Howtofindus/PublicTransport.aspx – this information is also included in patient correspondence and letters. Using the travel-line website, there is an opportunity to plan a specific journey to and from the hospital site – gaining up to date travel information and arrangements to meet with individual needs and preferences.
 
Further to our recent discussions and concerns that STAND have raised about the journey time to and from parking spaces and the point of care – I am pleased to be able to advise you of the latest development in the provision of car parking services for Blue Badge holders @ UHNS. I can confirm that with effect from 1stMay 2014, the Trust will provide Blue Badge holders with an additional 30 minutes parking time at no extra cost. This will mean that – for example – tickets purchased for up to 2 hours will now be valid for 2.5 hours – providing additional journey time. 
 
The Trust is also finalising arrangements to transfer Ambulance drop-offs – which will permit the development of additional Blue Badge car parking spaces adjacent to the hospital main entrance. I am hopeful that this planned relocation and redesignation project will be completed before the end of September 2014, and will keep you advised of progress in this regard.
 
Hope my brief response has been helpful in keeping you updated – please do not hesitate to contact me should you require any further information 
 
KR
 
Mark Fisher
Head of Facilities Management
This notice was spotted at UHNS in Aug 2014
2014-0parking notice at UHNS 8-28_10_00_49

Closure of Public Toilets In Stoke-on-Trent

There had been great concern amongst our members that if the public toilets closed in our town centres then disabled people would find it extremely difficult as most shops did not have toilets that they cold use and those that did tended to be located on upper floors.

Result

At our meeting on 28th Jan 2014 Councillor Terry Crowe said that the Council had decided that NO public toilets would be close unless there was a viable alternative, which includes those with disabled access.

This was raised yet again in the 2015/16 budget and again it has been deferred.

 

Shopmobility

Members were very concerned about the proposed move from the Shopping Centre to John Street car park. John Street car park is a considerable distance from where Shopmobility users wanted to shop and members were concerned about having to travel this distance in all weathers.

Result

At our meeting on 28th Jan 2014 we asked the council to comment on this:

  1.    Steve Buckton

Steve said that Shopmobility would be staying in the Potteries Shopping Centre for the foreseeable future. A situation that might change when the Potteries Centre start their proposed new buildings. Steve said that he would keep us informed. Lez said that the  Changing Places Unit would be decommissioned in Feb 14. Discussion about advertising and signage to Shopmobility and the amount time the unit (Changing Places) was used and was it in the best place were aired. Lez said she would contact the groups that were instrumental in getting the unit in the first place to assess how much it was being used and bring this information to the next meeting. She will also invite members of these groups to our next meeting. This unit cost a great deal of money and it is essential that it is sited in the best place where it will be used.. Terry to ask how many people have used this in the last 6 months and bring that information to our next meeting. Steve pointed out that Shopmobility does run at a loss and any suggestion as to how it can be made more cost effective would help.

At our meeting on 1st April 2014 Ian Tamburello informed STAND of a temporary move into the old bus station in Birch Terrace as the location in the Potteries Centre had become unsafe due to the building work. Negotiations will continue to return Shopmobility to the Shopping Centre when work is completed.

The opening of Shopmobility at the old bus station was on 10th April. It was a very successful launch. There will be extra disabled bays put in near to the entrance, but blue badge holders can use ordinary bays free of charge when they display their badge.

May 2014

Many members have expressed their support of the move into the old bus station. Many people find this much more convenient than the old location. They say that the new venue is closer to where they want to do their shopping.