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'I spent longer queuing to pay than my appointment took' - mother hits out at hospital parking charges

PUBLISHED: 08:24 21 May 2019 | UPDATED: 13:08 21 May 2019

A queue for the parking meter at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Jennifer Goodman.

A queue for the parking meter at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Picture: Jennifer Goodman.

Archant

A mother-of-three has hit out at new hospital parking charges after saying she queued to pay for almost an hour.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Photo: ArchantThe Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. Photo: Archant

It was longer than her scheduled 30 minute appointment at the hospital.

Visitors to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) using an adjacent private car park will now have to pay for their car parking up front, with the ability to top up their payment if their appointment takes longer than expected.

The 310-space car park, which opened in 2013, is owned and operated by Bullen Developments, a subsidiary of construction firm R G Carter.

Jennifer Goodman said she spent 50 minutes queuing with other patients and visitors to pay the £3 charge.

MORE: 'Just another way to make life difficult for the sick': Reaction to hospital parking charge change

"It's disgusting, I have spent longer queuing with three children than the appointment took," she wrote in a complaint to Bullen Developments.

"£3 charge to queue for 50 minutes to make a payment for 30 minutes.

"The poor parking attendant is bombarded with people complaining.

"It's stressful enough visiting a hospital without companies like yours making the whole experience worse."

An NNUH spokesman said of the charges: "The car park adjacent to the NHS hospital is a private business operated independently by R G Carter/ Bullen Developments and is not connected with the running of the hospital in any way. It is of course conveniently sited for our patients and visitors.

"The trust was not consulted in advance of the changes to the operation of the car park which we understand was implemented on Wednesday and was a surprise to us. We sympathise and understand the frustration of our patients and visitors.

"We are in discussions with R G Carter/ Bullen Developments about the way this has been handled and what mitigation measures they are putting in place to improve the way their car park operates and avoid the inconvenience which patients and visitors have experienced."

A spokesman for Bullen Developments said: "Following feedback from our customers we implemented a new on-site system to provide more payment options and introduced camera recognition, which allows faster and smoother entry to the car park.

"Under the new system the car park charges have remained the same and people have the flexibility to top-up their parking should their planned visit take longer than expected.

"We apologise for any inconvenience caused during the changeover work, and will be monitoring the system to ensure that it works efficiently and effectively for all users."

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