Questions raised about introduction of parking charges at community hospitals

QUESTIONS have been raised about the legality and the process of introducing parking charges at Ross Community Hospital.

The Wye Valley NHS Trust introduced parking charges at community hospitals in Leominster , Bromyard and Ross-on-Wye on Monday.

But Ross Town Councillors expressed their opposition to the charges at Monday night’s town council meeting.

Cllr Chris Bartrum said he thought it was a “disgrace” that the chief executive of the Wye Valley NHS Trust could not “be bothered to” turn up at the town council meeting.

He said: “If he is not going to turn up, the town council needs to go to their next meeting, every person from the town, and flood the meeting and make it clear that it is not acceptable and we are not going to put up with it. We should start a petition.”

The cost of parking starts at £1 per hour, rising to £2.50 for four hours and £5 for 24 hours parking.

Mary Osborne, from The Friends of Ross Hospital, told the meeting that she was worried their fundraising would be affected by the car parking charges.

The Friends hold fundraising events such as coffee mornings in the hospital and she said she believes less people will go as they will have to pay fees to park.

During the last six years alone, the Friends have given £234,000 to the hospital which is on average, £39,000 a year.

Cllr Caroline Bennett said: “I felt there should have been some consultation, a reason for introducing the charges. I feel we need concrete reasons.

“Was there a full feasibility study? Have they worked out how much it will cost to collect the money?”

Cllr Jenny Hyde said they should question the legality of the charges, as the land the hospital is on belongs to Ross-on-Wye.

She said: “I think it might be worth looking at the legality of the land.”

Councillors agreed that they should invite the chief executive, Glen Burley, to attend a meeting with the town council at his earliest convenience; that there should be a mass attendance of the next meeting of the Wye Valley Trust board; that the town council should start a petition; and to invite local parishes to get involved.

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