Car parking charges have been suspended at Lincoln County Hospital after another fault with the ParkingEye system caused more confusion for patients and visitors.
United Lincolnshire Health Trust contracted ParkingEye to introduce a new automatic number plate recognition system at Lincoln, Grantham and Boston Hospitals in November 2018, but it started to cause “frustration and anger” for patients.
ULHT ran into some “teething problems” with patients waiting in queues of up to 20 people to pay for parking, while workers attempted to fix broken machines. This led to some days of free parking and the ULHT board deciding to scrap all parking charges in December 2018, before charges were reintroduced again in January 2019.
Problems have returned again with people reporting seeing notices stating there is no charge for parking at this time, including in early January 2020 and last week.
ULHT said it has been advised that the issue should be rectified in the next few days.
Paul Boocock, Director of Estates and Facilities at ULHT, said: “There is currently a fault on the ParkingEye car parking system at Lincoln County Hospital and none of the payment machines are working. This means that parking is currently free for all patients and visitors to the site until the system is back up and running.
“ParkingEye have advised us that the issue should be rectified in the next few days. Notices are currently in place on the payment machines at the hospital, and will be removed when the system is back in operation.”
Although the free parking will temporarily benefit visitors, it has caused stress for people with one campaigner previously calling for the system to be scrapped.
A 91-year-old man was “left in tears” and “struggled to sleep” after he was threatened with court action over hospital parking fines. Sue McQuinn previously set up a petition calling for changes to the parking system, which was signed by over 2,800 people.
Hospital staff won half-price parking from this year, which is estimated to put £75 a year back into the pockets of the lowest-paid.