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Seventy doctors and nurses ordered to pay £68,000 for hospital parking tickets after losing legal battle

Mirror logo Mirror 3 days ago James McCarthy

Credits: Getty © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Getty More than 70 doctors and nurses have been told they need to pay £68,000 after losing a court battle over parking tickets issued at Wales’ largest hospital.

They have reportedly been landed with fines of £39,000 and court costs of £29,000.

The employees at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) in Cardiff have been fighting parking fines issued by private enforcement firm Indigo, along with the help of Sue Prior from Taff Ely Parking Action Group.

Video: Which NHS trust made the most in parking charges? (Sky News)

But that fight was lost on Friday at Cardiff’s civil justice court.

“The case was a three-day trial in the small claims court,” she said.

“There were three lead cases and the result was binding on 72 others. That means everyone has got to pay. This subset is worth £39,000.”

On top of that they have been ordered to stump up £29,000 in court costs. That works out as an average bill of more than £900 for each doctor and nurse affected by the judgement.

“They have got to pay or they end up with CCJs (County Court Judgements),” Ms Prior added to Wales Online.

“The cost per ticket is £128 so what they have to pay depends on how many tickets they have.”

 It is now feared other members of staff could face further civil action over other outstanding unpaid parking tickets.

Credits: Mirrorpix © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Mirrorpix “We have had people going in and handing their notice in,” Ms Prior said.

“The judge made them all worth £128 a ticket and all enforceable. The money machine has started.”

The action group has also criticised the hospital health board.

“They have permitted a private parking company to do this. There is no common sense anywhere.

"At the moment we just need to sit back and assess what we are going to do because it costs money to appeal.

"It was like David and Goliath – and David lost.”

 One nurse, who wished to remain anonymous, dubbed the outcome “devastating”.

“We heard yesterday that we are now personally accountable for thousands of pounds of hiked up car parking fees for a car park where the majority can’t even get a permit to park,” the staff member said.

“Personally, I am a nurse and a single parent. I had to move back to live with my parents due to financial difficulties.

“I already have hefty debt and am in a debt management scheme, but this is the final nail in the coffin.

 “How are we supposed to do our jobs properly if we are constantly worrying about these extortionate car parking fees?

“I have no idea how I will pay the costs and am distressed beyond belief.”

A spokesman for parking firm Indigo said: “In April last year, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Indigo agreed a new set of measures to improve car parking on the University Hospital of Wales site.

“As a gesture of goodwill towards car park users, parking charge notices issued up to the end of March 2016 were cancelled.

“In addition, the cost of a PCN (Parking Charge Notice) was reduced to £10, if paid within 14 days.

"Despite this, a number of people refused to pay for parking at the site. They also ignored the resulting PCNs and declined to use the formal appeals process.

The spokesman said the court hearing related to three individuals who had in excess of 100 PCNs between them since April 2016.

“As the company responsible for managing parking and ensuring the free flow of traffic at Cardiff UHW, we have an obligation to ensure enforcement of parking restrictions,” the spokeswoman said.

“For this reason, and with the full support of the health board, we took the strongest possible action against this small group of persistent offenders.

Credits: South Wales Echo © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: South Wales Echo  “The court’s ruling has justified our decision to take this action and we hope this sends a clear message to users of the car parks at Cardiff UHW that they follow the terms and conditions for parking.”

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said it was “disappointing” that a small number of staff refused to co-operate with parking rules.

A spokesman said: “The vast majority of over 98% of staff comply with the parking regulations.

“It is disappointing that a few people have chosen to refuse to co-operate with the contractors Indigo Parking Services UK and have chosen to pursue this through the courts.

“All staff and others visiting University Hospital Wales are encouraged to comply with the parking regulations in order for us to keep the site, safe, free- flowing and allow access to emergency vehicles and vital health services.”

The spokesman added: “As a Health Board we have worked tirelessly on our sustainability plans and offering alternative modes of transport to the site, such as a park and ride scheme, already in operation and future re- development of a travel hub.

“We will continue to develop these options and encourage all staff and patients to use them.

“We are aware there are significant financial costs and the financial hardship the staff have placed themselves in.

“We encourage all staff to engage with Indigo Car Parking Service UK at the earliest opportunity to avoid mounting legal and court costs.

“A high proportion our staff are involved in front line clinical duties.

“We have arrangements in place for vital services that require easy access quickly such as on call surgeons and midwives and those whose skills are required urgently for patient care.

“The vast majority of posts are covered by shift patterns and rotas that do not require the level of urgency claimed.”

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