NHS hospital parking wardens are allegedly told to focus on cancer ward car parks to exploit patients undergoing chemotherapy, according to an ex-employee of UK Parking Control Ltd (UKPC).
Whistleblower Tony Taylor – a team leader at the firm for two years – said he was instructed by his bosses to “give tickets regardless of any illness” in the Daily Mail report. He added that bonuses were offered to those who “give the sites a good banging”.
“When I had to visit the hospital sites, I was told to instruct the wardens to concentrate on the area outside the cancer departments, because cars would overstay their time more than any other part of the hospital due to them or their passenger receiving chemotherapy,” Mr Taylor said.
“[UK Parking Control Ltd] do not care one hoot about anyone’s feelings or health,” he added. Mr Taylor refused to obey the order and resigned in December 2013.
The government has urged hospitals to look into the allegations. Tory MP Stephen Dorrell said: “Any suggestion that there is a pre-meditated policy of targeting groups of vulnerable patients is completely incompatible with the NHS central ideal – to care and support vulnerable people.”
UK Parking Control Ltd manages a number of NHS hospitals as well as high street shops like Royal Mail, Marks & Spencer, B&Q, Barclays, Next, Tesco and various shopping centres.
Private parking firm wardens have allegedly taken to issuing Parking Charge Notices (a purposefully close take on the official Penalty Charge Notice or PCN for short), having seen clamping outlawed in 2012. Motorists slapped with a Parking Charge Notice are then threatened with court action if they fail to pay up, even though they lack the same legal standing.
RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister explained: “What a lot of rogue operators will do is simply play the percentage game. They will simply slap loads of tickets on cars in the expectation that many people will simply pay up. An industry estimate is that about 40 per cent of people pay up without bothering to check the legitimacy of the ticket.”
The Department of Health said it would be “issuing new guidance” to ensure NHS parking charges are “fair and not unduly expensive”. UK Parking Control Ltd, which has its headquarters in Uxbridge, Middlesex, has since denied the allegations.