We have had many complaints about the new barrier system of parking now installed on the big disabled car park at Royal Stoke. When this was first installed disabled people could get a refund from the office on the multi storey car park if they took over an hour from entering the car park. You may remember that STAND fought long and hard when the hospital first started charging disabled people to park. We ended up with a compromise of an extra hour being given to disabled people to make “reasonable adjustments” required under the Equality Act 2010. This has now been taken away on the car parks with barriers, and so has the refunds. Today disabled people have no concessions on the barrier car parks at Royal Stoke. The hospital said that disabled people have an extra half hour but this is not as it seems. Your parking time starts from the moment you enter the car park and goes until you pay for your parking. If you are even one minute over the hour, you are charged for two hours and the machines do not give change. The half hour mentioned is to allow you to get back to your car and get through the barriers. IT IS NOT A CONCESSION. IT IS AN OPERATING MECHANISM AND APPLIES TO EVERYONE PARKING ON THE BARRIER CAR PARKS.
As you can imagine STAND is contesting this as we believe the hospital is discriminating against disabled people by charging them more to park than none disabled because their disability means that they take longer to travel. Equality Act 2010
The hospital is also flouting Government Guidelines that say hospital should make concessions for disabled people parking.
So far STAND has had a meeting with hospital officials to discuss the matter and have a promise to look at this again, however they say that they have had many compliments about the new system. Perhaps disabled people do not complain enough to the right people because STAND has certainly had many complaints
We have also contacted our local MPs and have had superb support from them.
The next action will be to contact The Equality Commission to get their help to stop this blatant discrimination.