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  1. ITV Report

University Hospital of Wales staff struggling to make ends meet because of 'extortionate' parking fines

Hospital staff, who paid huge sum in court costs last week, may still have to pay outstanding individual parking fines.

Some staff at the University Hospital of Wales say they are struggling to make ends meet because of the “extortionate” repayments of unpaid parking tickets.

In July 2017, the employees lost a battle at Cardiff’s Civil Justice Court over 2,057 unpaid parking charge notices (PCNs).

Last week the group paid the £26,203 in legal fees owed to the court.

£128
extra each must be paid by staff per parking ticket fine, which originally cost just over £1.

While some of the NHS staff have admitted to being in the wrong when it came to their parking, many doctors, nurses and other employees have criticised the lack of staff spaces.

Some said they did not pay the PCNs because they were unaware the tickets were legally enforceable.

Others said they were wrongly advised not to pay the fines by their legal representatives.

A care assistant at the University Hospital of Wales said she has to pay back £4,500 for 26 unpaid parking tickets – which equates to around a quarter of her overall salary.

The amount of stress this has caused me has been enough to begin antidepressants, which I still take.

I am not arguing about paying to use the car park, but the costs added to a £1.05 parking ticket are totally unreasonable.

Some of these tickets have been issued twice on one shift – which I believe is called ‘ghost ticketing’ – others are for parking without a permit which I was then denied.

They’re so strict that they have even given tickets when a tyre is touching the white line of the space.

We were also told to ignore any parking tickets as they were unenforceable, which I unfortunately believed.

The whole injustice of this situation and the anxiety and stress it has caused has had a huge impact.

– Care assistant, University Hospital of Wales

The hearing at Cardiff’s Civil Justice Court specifically looked at 206 of these parking charge notices.

But it is understood that there many thousands of additional outstanding fines which have not been paid.

The University Hospital of Wales car parks are run by the private firm Indigo, which employs parking attendants to dish out the fines.

But the contract with Cardiff and Vale University Health Board comes to an end in June 2018, when the hospital site will become free to use for visitors, patients and staff.

It comes a decade after former Health Minister Edwina Hart announced that hospital car parking charges were to be scrapped in Wales unless external contracts were already in place.

As part of our Sustainable Travel plan we are committed to working on a solution to finding alternative options for patients, visitors and staff, enabling people to access health services in a safe environment.

– Geoff Walsh, director of capital, estates and facilities at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board

An Indigo spokesman said, “At the end of March 2018 Cardiff County Court contacted the motorists involved in the July 2017 court case, ordering them to pay the cost award imposed by the court.”