Father slams ‘jobsworth’ parking warden who slapped a ticket on an on-call doctor’s car

An ‘over-zealous’ parking warden ticketed a doctor’s car while the medic was helping a patient.

The black Mercedes Benz saloon’s driver was fined despite leaving a ‘doctor on call’ sign in the windscreen in Benfleet, Essex, on Monday afternoon.

The local council say doctors need a permit and wardens must ignore handwritten or notes printed at home or work.

Father-of-three Simon Harris spotted the incident and said there should be exemptions for all NHS workers – not just a blue-light vehicle. 

He took a picture of the charge notice, issued by South Essex Parking Partnership, on the windscreen of the £35,000 car at about 2.30pm on Monday and blasted the fines system as a council ‘cash cow’.

There has been uproar over the ticketing of a doctor out treating patients in their Essex community

The driver parked on Grosvenor Road in Benfleet, Essex, on Monday afternoon

The driver parked on Grosvenor Road in Benfleet, Essex, on Monday afternoon

The vehicle was slapped with a parking ticket after the driver parked on Grosvenor Road in Benfleet, Essex, where there are restrictions on parking between 2pm and 3pm.

Council chiefs said in some circumstances they can issue permits to NHS workers and advised the doctor to challenge the charge.

Simon Harris called on the ticket to be rescinded saying NHS workers must always be let off

Simon Harris called on the ticket to be rescinded saying NHS workers must always be let off

Mr Harris from Hockley, Essex, said: ‘There’s a clear “doctor on call” sign on the screen. They actually put the charge notice right next to it which I think is a cheek.

‘If it would have been a blue-lighted vehicle – an ambulance or a first responder car – it wouldn’t have happened.

‘It’s disgusting really. The doctor may appeal against it and get their money back but even if they do it’s a monumental waste of time for them.

‘The last thing an NHS worker needs is an extra set of bureaucracy.

‘I know you have to draw the line somewhere so that people don’t take advantage but it’s about common sense, it seems over-zealous.

‘It’s not easy to get a doctor to come out for a house call.. It’s usually a last resort so I got the impression the person they were probably visiting would have been someone unable to get to the surgery themselves.’

There is restricted parking on the road between 2pm and 3pm because it’s close to a school.

Simon said: ‘It’s quite a common thing in Essex to have these kind of hour-long restrictions. In some roads it’s between 10am and 11am and 11am and 12pm.

‘I’d just been out to see a friend and I was walking back to my car when I saw it.

‘The doctor may have been out doing a whole handful of home visits that day and wouldn’t have time to park miles away in case it has a knock-on effect for other appointments.

‘I’ve heard that district nurses and carers have the same kind of issue. They keep getting parking tickets and they can’t get permits, it just seems like a big cash cow.

‘Parking wardens should be sensitive to NHS-related situations. There could be an exemption system or the parking attendant could give them five minutes to come back to their car.

‘The one-hour restriction has been in place for a couple of years I think so most people are aware of it but maybe not if you’re a doctor coming from outside the area.

‘There is a sign making clear the restrictions but if you’re a doctor in a rush you might not have time to scope out the area before you see your patient.’

A spokesman for The South Essex Parking Partnership said: ‘The South Essex Parking Partnership (SEPP) has a permit available to assist staff in the NHS patient care industry.

‘These official permits will assist the successful applicants to fulfil their daily duties by allowing a dispensation to park on certain types of parking restriction.

‘The Parking Partnership issues many different types of permits, such as resident parking permits, and it is important that official valid permits are displayed.

‘Unfortunately, hand-written notes or unreferenced self-produced notices cannot be accepted.

‘If a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) has been issued to the driver of a vehicle, who is carrying out NHS patient care duties within the SEPP areas, it is advisable that they challenge the PCN with the reason for the visit.

‘This will enable the Parking Partnership to verify the circumstances and cancel the PCN and more importantly open the necessary channel to apply for a Carer Permit.’ 

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