Fury as income from hospital trust parking fines treble to £42k
The Western Health Trust has pulled in £42,000 in car parking fines at its hospitals in the last year - trebling income from the penalties compared to 2016.
The news comes a month after the Belfast Telegraph revealed that the trust made £750,000 in just two years from car park charges at Altnagelvin Hospital in Londonderry and the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen.
The income generated in fines in the trust's hospital car parks in 2016 was £13,366, and this year hit £42,143.
Penalties were served on those not parked properly, parked in blue light routes, disabled bays, or blocking drop-off and collection points.
The trust said the arrangements were put in place to allow "appropriate access to the hospital sites and that spaces are used appropriately".
"The Western Health and Social Care Trust introduced car parking operational procedures in October 2016 on the Altnagelvin Hospital and South West Acute Hospital sites, and on the new Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex in July 2017," it said.
"Since implementation of the car parking operational procedures, the trust has seen a marked positive change in the car parking on the sites and this has resulted in a reduction in the number of parking charge notices issued.
"On the Altnagelvin Hospital site there has been a significant reduction in the number of parking charge notices issued since the procedures were implemented last year.
"This is a very positive indication that our site users are familiar with and adhering to the requirement to keep blue light routes and disabled bays clear and available for appropriate use.
"The income figures are for our three hospital sites.
"The main contraventions requiring a parking charge notice to be applied were inappropriate parking in blue light routes and abuse of disabled parking bays."
People Before Profit's Shaun Harkin said the figure was outrageous and that people "should not have to pay for parking, never mind pay fines".
He said the trust should provide more bays to ease congestion.
"If this is the total number of fines they are handing out, there are clearly not enough parking spaces," he claimed.
"I think this is all stemming from the trust's desperate attempts to raise revenue."