Barlow's Beef: Hospital parking charges make patients sick


Judging by the emails I receive residents are clearly angry at parking arrangements at Macclesfield General Hospital. Even blue badge holders are inflamed at the treatment they receive from Parking Eye who manage parking charges.

One disabled patient was left with fines totalling £210 after visits to the hospital. As Parking Eye's revenue comes entirely from fines they have a strong incentive to ensure total compliance.

Having developed or sold-off every spare piece of land parking spaces around the hospital are at a premium.

No one is suggesting exploitation but the system employed is sufficient to ensure parking charges and fines are maximised at every opportunity.

Visitors are electronically monitored the moment they arrive and charged even if they sit in their vehicle waiting for a patient. It's an unforgiving system that penalises not town centre revellers or lazy motorists but people at their most vulnerable.

With few exceptions those arriving at hospital are undera degree of stress and preoccupation. I don't recall ever making a relaxed visit to a hospital. I was either attending for some extremely unpleasant procedure or visiting a sick loved one. Either way my mental facilities were somewhat impaired.

It may not be against the law to fine vulnerable patients and visitors for failing to comply with an unforgiving electronic parking system but is it the way for hospital management to win the hearts and minds of the community they serve?

I doubt you will find John Lewis adopting the same system. They value their reputation and good relationships.

Not long ago residents and staff of Macclesfield General organised a massive 50,000-signature petition to help save the hospital from departmental closures. You can't buy that kind of loyalty and you certainly don't reward it by alienating those you may rely on to support you in the future.

MGH do enjoy good relationships with local residents and, of course, they are under financial pressure but exploiting vulnerable visitors at times of stress isn't the way to balance their budget.

From time to time senior management of organisations make blunders: Remember the plan to replace the name of Royal Mail with Consignia or Lady Thatcher's reaction to BA's plan to decorate their fleet with incomprehensible 'art'?

Those plans were scrapped by management after realising they had misjudged the situation.

Management at Macclesfield General may want to do likewise.

The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of

Vic Barlow


Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

David Fairbotham
Tuesday 11th August 2015 at 8:16 pm
The Parking Eye system is not fool proof, always keep your receipt. Having dropped my Wife off at the A&E entrance recently, I then parked and purchased / displayed my ticket.

A week or so later, I received a Fine, I wrote an appeal letter with a copy of the receipt.
It took Parking Eye nearly a month to acknowledge my appeal. I eventually received a "standard" letter (which was not even personally addressed to me) saying that in "this case" the fine was dropped and that in future I should adhere to the T&Cs !
No hint of an apology and that they were wrong of course.
Mike O'Rourke
Wednesday 12th August 2015 at 6:30 pm
The problem with pay and display is you never know how long you'll be in outpatients. I paid for an hour but they were short staffed and I wasn't seen for an hour and a half. Fortunately I wasn't booked.
Lesley Broome
Thursday 13th August 2015 at 1:31 pm
Parkingeye are vile.. even several of the hospital staff have said so... they are trying to charge me for parking for 13 minutes.. despite stating clearly ( photos duly sent off to appeal) that up to 20 minutes free... It really beggars belief..why not adopt the same parking as royal infirmary..???