Friday, 15 September 2017

Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals Parking Charges.

Another depressing day.

This last spring, I was involved in a campaign which tried to stop Ashford and St. Peter's hospitals charging holders of disabled drivers badges for the use of their car parks.

This Trust raises one of the largest amounts of money in the country from charging patients, visitors and staff for using the car parks. It's not something that people have much choice about - it's a tax on ill health and it's not what the NHS is about.

They tried the same thing in 2014 and we successfully stopped them. This time they didn't care about the bad publicity or the disapproval of local councils.

It is, after all, quite an unpopular Trust.

Sadly, we lost and the charges went on.

Today Frimley Park NHS Trust which is now administering Heatherwood and Wexham Park hospitals will be bringing in charges for disabled users. I have now doubt that Ashford and St. Peter's actions have emboldened them and it just shows how important it is to realise that the whole NHS is connected.

A defeat in one area means a defeat for all.

Although I'm now too ill to do a lot myself, I hope local users will oppose this move in Slough and force a rethink. Disabled drivers are some of the most active users of the NHS and often least able to pay.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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