24 March 2007

Hospital parking: doctors fined

You have to pay to park at Dr Grumble's hospital. If you don't you get clamped. Dr Grumble has been clamped. The receipt to have his car released is below. This sort of thing happens all the time but for some reason it has become newsworthy recently. Thirty-five pounds is not much given that some patients get charged £30 per day to park.

Some years ago a friend of Dr Grumble asked him if he might like to join him working for the largest pharmaceutical company in the world. He was invited to visit the headquarters and was liberally wined and dined. Dr Grumble, out of curiosity, asked how much his friend paid to park his car. Nothing at all was the answer. When Dr Grumble was a civil servant he too paid nothing at all. He even parked in Whitehall for nothing at all. And, quite often, he had a driver or a hire car. So it was not a great surprise to find that he wouldn't have had to pay had he chosen to work for the world's largest drug company. But what was even more amazing was that he wouldn't have had to pay for the car either. That would have been thrown in as part of the package. And not the sort of car that Dr Grumble drives but a very much better and newer model. Looked at against this background the NHS seems rather stingy. Dr Grumble is not complaining. He is quite sure that he is a lot happier in his present job than he would have been working for the pharmaceutical company but a free car with the job seems odd to Dr Grumble with his NHS pedigree. But it is, of course, commonplace.

A nice car with the job. Who knows what other fringe benefits there might have been?

Cancer patients having to pay to park causes particular concern and in some places Trusts, stung by criticism, have now made parking for cancer patients free. Dr Grumble wonders how they choose these deserving patients. Does a small rodent ulcer count? And if you have some other disease requiring frequent attendance with a prognosis worse than for some cancers, do you get any similar dispensation?

And is it really alright to make low paid hospital workers shell out for parking? It's not cheap. And if you are working odd hours alternative transport is not necessarily that easy. Dr Grumble pays £860 per annum to be assured of a parking space. That's very nearly as much as he pays to the Medical Defence Union lest he makes a costly mistake. And it's not tax deductable. Dr Grumble can afford it. But what about Dr Grumble's secretary? What percentage of her salary does this mop up? No wonder we have to get our letters typed in India.


Anonymous said...

hello, you have gone up in my estimation, keep up the good work.

Trevor Gay said...

Like Dr Grumble I am sure.. I can remember in the early 1980’s when I was a young hospital manager and car parking charges were introduced. All those nice accountants in my hospital said … ‘it is only a nominal sum and merely a gesture. It will never become income we rely on in the NHS’

How times have changed …

My lesson - Confucius he say – ‘beware he of the numbers game called accountant who brings promises of jam tomorrow’

At the time as an outspoken young rebellious manager I complained long and hard to my bosses about my abhorrence at charging patients to park. I was accused of being a socialist extremist. Without being arrogant I was right and it still riles me today 20 plus years later.

It is scandalous that patients and relatives pay for being ill or visiting someone who is ill. I know people who pay £35 per week to visit their sick next of kin in a hospital bed. Mr Bevan will be turning in his grave.