THE government’s decision to reduce the number of disabled parking bays outside the Hospital’s Outpatients’ department has been branded ‘a real blow’ by an elderly user, who believes blue-badge holders will struggle to walk from the nearest car park.
Colin Perchard (82) has called for the spaces lost, which he described as ‘very well used’, to be reinstated immediately.
Last month, the government replaced five bays at the top of the ramp outside the Outpatients’ department with three larger spaces to allow ‘easier access for blue-badge holders’.
To compensate for the loss of bays, two new parking spaces were created for disabled drivers in the Patriotic Street car park with a two-hour limit.
A government spokesperson said the parking spaces outside the Outpatients’ department had been reconfigured to make the nearby access ramp safer to use, as it is a popular drop-off point used by ambulances, taxis and private cars.
However, Mr Perchard, a frequent visitor to the Hospital, said that the ramp had not been made safer, adding access to the Outpatients’ department for disabled visitors had now been made more difficult.
‘Many blue-card holders by definition have restricted walking ability and would find it difficult if not impossible to walk from the Patriotic Street car park to the Hospital entrance.
‘To have access to medical services so restricted is a real blow,’ he said.
‘I would be loath to ask for an ambulance to collect me from my home and return me there after consultation or treatment, as I’m sure the service itself would be to offer this support. But this untimely decision to restrict the number of disabled bays may lead to greater demands of this kind.’
Mr Perchard has written to the government to ask them to revert to the ‘previous very helpful and well managed provision’.
‘I would like to see the spaces reinstated as they were very well used, had a rapid turnover and were extremely useful,’ he said.
Mr Perchard added that the disabled parking bays at the newly reopened eastern entrance of the Hospital were ‘very swiftly taken up by any able-bodied driver’, leaving ‘none available for blue-badge holders’.