Urgent talks are to be held over a new parking system in place at North Tyneside General Hospital following numerous complaints from angry visitors.
Changes were made to car parking arrangements the hospital last May.
But visitors to the site in North Shields have hit out at the system run by ParkingEye, describing it as ‘dictoral’ and unfair.
Now, bosses at Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust have announced they are holding urgent talks with the company.
They say that since the system was installed at North Tyneside, Wansbeck and Hexham general hospitals, they have received numerous issues from visitors and patients.
A trust spokesperson said: “The trust has listened to, and is concerned by, the many issues raised by patients and families, since the ParkingEye system was installed.
“As a result, we are entering into urgent discussions with ParkingEye Ltd to find a way of addressing these concerns and preventing any recurrence of the issues which have been reported to us.”
The previous system saw motorists receiving a token as they entered the car park.
ParkingEye uses an automatic number place recognition system to record when vehicles enter and leave the site, with the aim of helping patients, visitors and staff pay the appropriate charge for their stay in the car park.
Visitors are given a free 20-minute period for ‘pick-ups’ or ‘drop-offs’ before being charged £1.20 an hour, with a 60p charge for half an hour after the first hour.
The system also allows more options to pay, including credit or debit card.
But since the system was introduced, some visitors and patients have hit out at the scheme after being hit with what they called unjustified fines.
Frank Clayforth, of North Shields, said: “The sudden change from a user friendly token system to the dictatorial method now in force has resulted in confusion and the imposition of harsh and unfair penalties.
“Several members of staff including the hospital chaplaincy staff have been caught out by this unbending money scam.
“It is not surprising that people have failed to see notice boards, particularly in the dark, and would thus have been deprived of reading a mixture of instruction and threat that would not appear out of place in a Gestapo operations manual.”
Some disabled motorists were left angered after being hit with fines after they were unaware they had to register their vehicle before using the car park.
Patients and visitors should continue to pay for parking using the existing system.
Anyone with any queries about parking can also call the trust’s estates team on (0191) 293 4353 or email firstname.lastname@example.org