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Parking fines issued to patients using Lakeside’s St Mary’s Medical Centre in Stamford





Parking procedures at a GP surgery have been labelled ‘an absolute scandal’ after a patient was fined twice.

Kate Ellery, 85, took her husband Maurice, 89, to St Mary’s Medical Centre in Wharf Road, Stamford for a dementia appointment.

Preoccupied with his needs, she missed notices about inputting their car registration onto a screen in the surgery reception.

A week later she took Maurice for another appointment, and subsequently received two £60 fines through the post.

Kate, who lives in Belmesthorpe, said: “I paid them straight away because otherwise they would have gone up to £100 each.

“I didn’t see anything about it when we were at the surgery. There are so many notices telling you different things, and I wasn’t told by the receptionist.

Original signs about the car park don't all mention potential fines
Original signs about the car park don't all mention potential fines

“I can understand they want to stop people parking there to go shopping, or while at work. But I have enough problems organising my husband and getting him there for his treatment.

We’re always running late because it takes so long to get ready. It’s very difficult.

“To then receive a fine is so annoying.”

Another patient, who did not wish to be identified, said he attends St Mary’s each month and only saw a sign about parking by chance.

He said: “People are only given 10 minutes to register their number plate on the screen. Sometimes it takes that long waiting in the car park for a space to become free. I’ve never seen such a short time allowance.

One of the new signs that says patients and visitors must validate their parking inside the surgery
One of the new signs that says patients and visitors must validate their parking inside the surgery

“Another issue is that the notices are quite wordy, and lost among all the other signs.

“When people enter the car park they have their minds on negotiating the traffic on the road outside, finding a space, and their appointment. They don’t necessarily take in all the information around them.

“Lakeside could do more to make people aware, such as having a notice on a stand right in the doorway, or issuing a card about the changes with people’s prescriptions. There should also be an amnesty period for patients until word gets around. It’s an absolute scandal that patients are being fined.”

Three notices are tacked to the front door, although this is sometimes propped open
Three notices are tacked to the front door, although this is sometimes propped open

Lakeside introduced automatic number plate recognition cameras at the car park on March 27 with people given 30 minutes to register their number plate and fines of £40.

Michelle Inwood, operations and compliance manager at the surgery, said the misuse of the car park by commuters and shoppers affected the availability of spaces for patients, and continued to do so with a 30-minute grace period, which is why it was reduced to 10 minutes.

She added that a second number plate registration point was being added at the dispensary.

A further sign stuck on an inner door to St Mary's Medical Centre
A further sign stuck on an inner door to St Mary's Medical Centre

“We do not receive any financial benefit from Penalty Charge Notices,” said Michelle.

“We have spoken to the person whose case was raised, as well as the car parking operator, and a full refund will be made.

“We will continue to support our patients in appealing their Parking Charge Notices by providing evidence of their appointments.”

What do you think the solution is? Email news@lincsonline.co.uk



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