HEALTH chiefs have been shamed into cancelling a £90 parking ticket they slapped on the parents of a five-year-old-girl left in a wheelchair by arthritis.
Dr Robert Lambourn was shocked to discover the ticket after parking in a disabled space to take his five-year-old daughter to hospital – in her wheelchair.
He had even left a note on the car dashboard saying ‘Hospital appointment – wheelchair user’.
His five-year-old daughter Eloise suffers a severe and painful type of arthritis, is unable to walk, and has been using a wheelchair for the past month.
Dr Lambourn, 55, said a parking attendant refused even to discuss the ticket at Borders General Hospital, Melrose, in the Scottish Borders, despite his daughter being there in her wheelchair.
His wife, also a GP, was also stunned at the fine which threatened to take them to court if they do not pay up.
Now red-faced health chiefs have cancelled the fine although they have stuck by the policy to fine wheelchair users without a blue badge.
But Eloise’s parents are calling for the hospital to rethink the bizarre policy that targets ill people for parking in disabled spaces.
“The car park was fairly full and there isn’t space for a wheelchair by the side of the car,” explained Dr Lambourn from Foulden in the Scottish Borders.
“I used one of the disabled spaces – I couldn’t drop her off and leave her by herself.
“I left a note on the front dash board. When we got back after an hour appointment I found a parking notice attached above the sign.”
Describing how he felt about the £90 fine he said: “I was a mixture of being cross and upset.
“It’s quite distressing having a little girl in a lot of pain without having a parking ticket.
“The parking attendant wouldn’t discuss it further.”
He continued: “You can only have a badge if you have a permanent disability.
“They should have some flexibility for poorly people. I was surprise by the lack of flexibility.”
His wife, Dr Elizabeth Batley (41), said: “Eloise has a really severe type of arthritis.
“She in a wheelchair because she can’t walk on her leg – she’s been unable to move her arms and hands a times as well. It’s a really nasty thing.”
She said charging wheelchair users who don’t have a blue badge was something the hospital needs change.
“Hospitals are full of people who don’t have a registered disabled badge.
“Especially for children,” Dr Batley continued. “You can’t just leave them in a car park until you get the car to her.
“A child is still slightly traumatized going to hospital.”
Talking about the fine she added: “The letter you get from them is quite threatening. It said if you do not pay it we will take you to court.”
She added: “It should be about providing a service for patients – not making money.”
A spokeswoman from NHS Borders said: “On review of all the circumstances, this particular parking charge notice has been cancelled.”
She said parking charges will be given to any “incorrect parking” including using “disabled spaces if a valid disabled badge is not displayed”.
She added: “An appeals process is in place, details of which are included on the parking charge notice.”