540 parking fines at hospital 

PARKING officers are out in force at John Hunter Hospital, issuing fines to frustrated motorists who often struggle to find spaces.

So far this year Hunter New England Health has issued 540 parking fines and collected about $53,000.

Jennifer Kay, who is a regular visitor to the hospital, was angered when she received a penalty reminder notice in the mail on Friday, after never receiving the original fine.

The 53-year-old Gateshead resident suffers several chronic health conditions.

She has a disabled parking permit, but said she struggles to find vacant disabled parking spaces at the Rankin Park campus.

Mrs Kay said she parked in another spot near the front of the hospital, and advised security officers she had done so.

She has now been fined for the August 15 incident.

‘‘If you’re not well you can’t walk,’’ Mrs Kay said.

‘‘We drove everywhere, all around the property.

‘‘There were no [vacant] disabled parks anywhere on the property.

‘‘They’re doing the wrong thing by disabled people.

‘‘There’s not enough parks.’’

Hunter New England Health declined to comment specifically on Mrs Kay’s situation, due to patient privacy regulations.

Capital works manager Brett Evans said people with a disability parking permit could park in 15-minute car spaces for 30 minutes.

Individuals who exceeded that time might be fined.

Vehicles displaying a disability parking permit were able to park in any public car space, including designated disabled car spaces and regular car spaces, he said.

A parking compliance officer monitored parking and issued infringements at the hospital at all times during the day.

The fine was $99 and could be appealed through the State Debt Recovery Office.

‘‘There are circumstances where we will waive a fine for a patient or visitor, for example a medical emergency,’’ Mr Evans said.

Parking fees went towards a free shuttle service and parking area maintenance.

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