A NHS worker admitted for emergency surgery at the hospital where she works was landed with TWO parking fines while under the knife.
Claire Maloney, 23, fell ill with a uterus infection during a late shift at Medway Maritime Hospital in Kent where she has been working as an admin clerk since September.
She was rushed to surgery, only to emerge four days later to discover two parking tickets worth £120 stuck to her car windscreen.
The penalty notice, issued by firm First Parking which manages the hospital’s car parks, states that the fine was levied because Claire had “parked [in the dedicated staff zone] without clearly displaying a valid permit”.
But, having only started working at the hospital in September, Claire’s parking permit hadn’t arrived yet.
On the advice of her managers, she had resorted to placing a note in her car window stating that she is “emergency department staff awaiting permit”, including contact details for the emergency desk and her phone number.
Claire, of Gillingham, Kent, said: “I did that for about two weeks and had no problems.
"But I was unexpectedly admitted for surgery when I was on shift.
“When I was discharged four days later I came back to two fines.”
Claire believes the charges should be scrapped - claiming they “penalise” health workers.
She said: “It doesn’t seem very fair because you want to be there to help people.
“I do understand the NHS need to get their funding from somewhere, but I don’t think that charging staff is really the answer.”
Medway NHS Trust is implementing a new parking system at the hospital, and some staff permits are reportedly taking up to two months to arrive - with the costs then deducted from their monthly pay packet.
There is also a park and ride scheme for NHS staff, which Claire says she can’t use because the last bus runs at 11.30pm - and some of her shifts finish too late to catch it.
Gary Lupton, Medway NHS Trust’s executive director of estates and facilities, said the Trust had carried out a recent review of parking arrangements to “create a fairer system for all staff”.
He added that all parking profits “are invested back into clinical care”.
A study at the end of last year showed that 40% of hospitals in England has increased parking prices.