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Grandfather's fury at car parking row

Telford | News | Published:

A parking attendant refused to let a grandfather stop outside the side doors of a Shropshire hospital to pick up his daughter after an emergency caesarian section.

Grandfather Dennis Athersmith, from Apley, and his daughter Rachel with her son Thomas, who is just four days old

Dennis Athersmith, 65, was told by medics to go to the exit of the maternity unit at the Princess Royal Hospital in Telford to save his daughter Rachel from walking after the traumatic birth.

But a parking attendant told Mr Athersmith, he would "book him" if he did not move to the main car park – forcing Rachel to struggle 30 yards through hospital corridors.

The hospital today apologised to the new mother.

The revelations come in the week that a controversial 75 per cent rise in car parking charges were announced, with prices rising to up to £3.50 from Monday.

The Princess Royal Hospital in Telford which will be the start of the walk

Rachel, 32, was rushed to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital amid fears for her baby, but Thomas was delivered safely at a healthy 8lb 5oz.

The new mother and baby boy were transferred to Telford's Princess Royal, where Rachel said the parking ordeal just "added to the stress of the situation".

"I just wanted to go home and I was struggling to walk only three days after my caesarian section and this just made things worse," said the clinic manager of Higgs Way, Lawley.

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Mr Athersmith said: "To save Rachel walking through the hospital, the staff said to come to the unit itself via the side entrance.

"I arrived there and in the vicinity was a parking attendant checking tickets.

"My partner approached him and said we were just picking up.

"He promptly told her she had to move the car. I went over to see what was going on and the attendant said we could not park there. I said we were not parking – just picking up – and had been instructed to do this by the nursing staff.

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"He said the car parks had nothing at all to do with them and told me to move it or he would book me.

"I said my daughter had had a C section and could not walk very far hence the instructions to go to the side entrance.

"He said that didn't matter."

Mr Athersmith, of Kingfisher Way, Apley, added: "He said if we did not move it immediately he would book me and started to take my registration details."

A spokesman for The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust said: "We expect the highest standards of customer service from everyone employed by CP Plus, which is the company that manages car parks on the trust's behalf. Their priority needs to be to put patients first and we would be very keen to hear directly from this person to talk about this matter further, apologise in person and ask CP Plus to look into this."

A spokesman for the parking company said: "We are proud of the way we train our team to behave in both a professional and courteous manner, delivering the highest standards of customer service.

"We take these sort of allegations very seriously and will be doing a thorough internal investigation to see what happened. At this stage, we can only apologise without knowing the details, to the lady for any distress this may have caused."

Bosses revealed this week that charges to park at the PRH and the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital will be increased to £3.50 for 24 hours – a rise of 75 per cent from the current all day £2 flat rate.

The new tariff will also see visitors charged £2.50 for up to two hours and £3 for up to five hours. There will be concessions available for people on long term treatment plans or who are visiting hospital regularly.

The decision was attacked by Telford MP David Wright, who described the move as "a charge on the sick".

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