A WOMAN has accused the Countess of Chester Hospital of having no compassion after she received a surprise parking fine while taking her elderly father to a clinic appointment.

Karen Leck said she had no idea the NHS trust had introduced pay-and-display machines in the Blue Badge car park at the front of the site on Liverpool Road.

She told the Standard there was no obvious signage to indicate this so was shocked when she returned to her car on October 11 to find she’d been hit with a £30 fine.

To make matters worse, she said the only reason she had to keep visiting was because her father, Samuel Siddans, required fortnightly fracture clinic appointments after suffering a fall on a ward.

The 86-year-old had been admitted in July with breathing problems but had broken his arm while walking to the toilet one night.

Chester and District Standard:

Mrs Leck's father Samuel Siddans with her granddaughter.

“I wouldn’t usually fault the Countess but this isn’t good enough,” she said. “My father suffered an injury whilst in their care and has had to visit fortnightly and now we get penalised for it.

“There’s been no compassion whatsoever.”

Mrs Leck, 53, from Aldford, said she had tried speaking with security and had called up at least eight times in an effort to challenge her fine.

“I tried endlessly to speak to someone but was just passed from pillar to post,” she said. “People weren’t answering phones and security were being abrupt and rude.

“I’ve just paid the fine now as it’s half if you pay within 14 days. It’s just so frustrating. I don’t feel like anyone was listening to me at all.

“I haven’t got a problem with paying to park but it just wasn’t advertised.”

Chester and District Standard:

Mrs Leck's father's arm after the fall at the Countess.

The Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s website includes a news story which indicates that from September 30 the “Blue Badge parking area that is currently available at the front of the hospital will become a short stay pay and display parking area for Blue Badge holders”.

In a statement to this newspaper on Mrs Leck’s experience, Director of Nursing and Quality Alison Kelly said they were considering improving signage.

She said: “As part of the ongoing building work at the hospital we have been able to improve car parking provisions for blue badge holders, ensuring there are plenty of suitable spaces outside both the hospital’s main entrance and the Emergency Department.

“This has included introducing pay-and-display ticket machines in the blue badge car parks by the main entrance and near Outpatients 3, which will help with maintenance costs and further improvements to our facilities going forward.

“In response to patient and visitor feedback we are currently reviewing ways of making this process easier and clearer, including improving the signage in these areas over the coming months.”

She added: “We advise anyone who wants to challenge a parking charge notice to follow the process outlined on their ticket so it can be investigated. Our Patient Experience team can also help with any other parking-related enquiries.”