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
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 at – 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 
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.


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.



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.


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.

Tontine Street, Hanley – Kerb Edges

STAND raised the issue of people tripping up in Tontine Street because there was little visual difference between the road and the kerb after the new paving had been completed.


At the STAND meeting on 28th Jan 2014 the Council have agreed with us and they said that they will put metal studs along the pavement edge to rectify this problem. We will let you know when this has been done. Meanwhile take great care in Tontine Street.


I have been asked to provide an update regarding the new paving in Tontine Street / Percy Street.
The design for the scheme was undertaken with the aim of accommodating the needs of a wide variety of users as required by legislation covering new schemes proposals. Considerable research into design guidance from Department for Transport, Guide Dogs UK and other sources was carried out as well as consultation involving disability groups and visits to similar schemes in other cities to inform the layout and choice of materials. The installation of the 60mm kerb face wherever possible was something blind and partially sighted users are particularly keen on being provided and a dark granite was used at the kerb line to provide a contrast between the footways and the carriageway. Although the kerb and adjacent channel are the same material there is a visible difference between the two with a contrast in the units sizes used.
Independent road safety audits carried out at both design stage and following completion have not raised any issues with the design and choice of materials however we have been made aware of similar concerns and trip incidents by a number of people. As a result work started last week on the installation of hazard markings along the kerb edge using stainless steel discs inlaid into the granite kerb. We shall continue to monitor the situation following the installation of the markers.
Andy Norman | Senior Engineer
Highway & Structural Engineering | City Renewal | Place Management | Roads and Engineering
City of Stoke-on-Trent
Reception 2, Highways & Transportation, Regent Centre, Regent Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 3EG
t. 01782 232165

UHNS disabled parking Pay and Display Issues

Disabled parking problems have been a long standing issue with UHNS. Back in Sept 2012 the secretary of STAND gave this letter to Julia Bridgewater, the Chief Executive of UHNS.

Dear Julia Bridgewater,

I have asked questions about disabled parking at UHNS AGMs over the last 4 years as I realised that disabled people are missing appointments because they have been unable to find an appropriate parking spot.

Mike Brerton said he would look into this at the first AGM. I heard nothing more. Andrea Green said she would look at it and Mike Dixon arranged a meeting with her where I saw that on the plans it was obvious that there would be a problem. She said she would arrange a meeting for us to meet the planners. That was the last I heard about that. At the AGM last year when I raised the issue again Gavin said he would get back to me. He arranged for Elaine Andrews to come to see me to discuss the matter. I explained the problem and she said there would be a covered walkway with seats and wheelchairs. I said that this would not be a solution as some disabled people would be sitting in the cold for up to an hour before they could even get to the door.(Assuming 2 stops of half an hour every 50 metres) She said she would take up this issue and get back to me. I had to contact her and nothing had changed.

There is still an unresolved problem about disabled parking at the UHNS in that the nearest parking spot is too far away for disabled people to walk. i.e. It is more than 50 metres from the door. As I am sure you are aware, if someone can walk more than 50 metres then in the vast majority of cases they do not qualify for a blue badge, therefore although I acknowledge you have provided more disabled bays at the new hospital, these bays are not fit for purpose in that the majority of disabled people will struggle to use them.

Stoke-on-Trent Area Network for Disability have now taken up this issue as it means that the majority of disabled people will be unable to access the very service that they need for their health and well being and they would like to know how this is going to be resolved?

From then STAND has had conversations and contacts with various representative from UHNS about the inadequate positioning of the Blue Badge bays and then in Nov 2013 the hospital imposed parking charges on disabled people for the first time. We were already concerned that disabled people were disadvantaged by having to travel further than was safe for their health and the pay and display method chosen by the hospital meant that this distance was increased as they then had to travel back and forth to the pay and display machine before starting the journey that was already too far.


Promises that the following will be investigated:

that there will be Blue Badge Bays adjacent to the main entrance when the ambulances have been relocated.

that there will be additional Blue Badge Bays outside West Building when the area is relined.

that the layout of the main disabled car park will be looked at to see if it can be improved.

Said To Be In Place:

Volunteers available to help disabled people on the car parks.

Outstanding issues

STAND members are reporting that they have not seen any volunteers to help. It is obvious that there are not enough volunteers to staff a reliable service.

The distance disabled people have to travel is much too far and is putting extra strain on their health.

Machines are out of order on occasions.

Machines are too far away for disabled people to walk outside A&E.

An extra machine has now been put in place outside A&E.

Members in wheelchairs cannot get to the machines because of cars parked over the dropped kerb.

No large signs to say it is a pay and display. I am told that this will be sorted by the end of Feb14.

This has now been sorted out.

Signs on the machine far too small to read, especially in dim light.

If disabled people are to be charged for parking then the system used must not put disabled people at a disadvantage by forcing them to travel extra distance to and from the pay machines.

Appeal for help

All members are asked to write or email their MPs to highlight these issues. See MPs page

Legal Action

A member has started legal action for discrimination against UHNS as there does not appear to be any positive action toward obtaining a disability friendly pay system and disabled people are suffering.

Government Action

In Aug 2014 the Government issued guidance to hospitals asking for free or concessionary parking for disabled people and a pay on exit parking system.Government Guidance on Hospital Parking Charges
















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Stafford Street New Disabled Friendly Crossing Now Open

Members raised the issue of dropped kerbs not lining up in Stafford Street Hanley, which means that once a wheelchair user has travelled down one of the dropped kerbs they then have to travel some distance along a busy road before they can get to the safety of the pavement on the other side.


At the STAND meeting on 28th Jan 2014 councillor Terry Crowe offered to look into this and bring his findings to our next meeting on April 1st 10am at Stoke Town Hall.

Hi Pam
Ref the dropped kerb in Stafford Street – we are still currently investigating the options to provide an additional dropped kerb for pedestrians – given the new traffic arrangements on Stafford St.  We are currently hopeful that we can provide further assistance on this, and if this is the case, we would be looking to deliver this improvement in April / May  ie in the new financial year. Before we install any new dropped kerbs, we will send any proposal we develop to Pam for consultation with the STAND members.
David Stubbs | Highways and Structural Engineering
City Renewal Services
City of Stoke-on-Trent
Aug 2014
We have had an update from the Highways department.
Hi Pam
I have been asked to give you a update on the Stafford Street uncontrolled crossing point, the crossing point is marked out and all being well the contractor should have the work complete by the end of this week the 17/8/14.
Great news, this crossing has been completed and is open from today.