Volunteer slapped with £170 fine after 10 minute hospital drop off for patient

A “disgusted” charity volunteer has slammed the decision to slap him with a £170 parking fine.  

John Ling, 77, was initially hit with a £70 for a 10 minute stay outside Manchester Royal Eye Hospital.

The retired teacher is a volunteer driver who takes children, disabled and elderly people to medical appointments and had taken a wheelchair-bound man to the first floor and quickly returned to his car.

But on his return he was shocked to find he’d gotten a ticket, despite displaying an NHS patient transport sign on his windscreen, reports the Manchester Evening News (M.E.N.).

He said: “I couldn’t drive around looking for a vacant space, because there were none.

“It seems to me the parking companies exist to make money by fining people – the hospital doesn’t benefit as far as I can tell.”

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Now in a victory for Mr Ling his local newspaper M.E.N. got involved and has had the fine withdrawn by Parkingeye – the company that issued the fine – which said they’d cancel the charge “as a gesture of good will”. 

Mr Ling, from Openshaw, Manchester, had appealed the fine and the boss of Being There, the charity he was volunteering for at the time, also wrote in his support, describing Mr Ling as a “highly dedicated, compassionate volunteer, who gives up his time to support others”.

Then he heard back saying his appeal had been rejected and the fine upped to £170 and warned that if he didn’t stump up the cash he could be subject to High Court or bailiff action.

Mr Ling said he was “pretty disgusted” at being fined.

He said: “The reason I was pressing on with it was because I wanted to challenge this sort of blank attitude they have.” 

Parkingeye and Manchester Universities NHS Foundation Trust have both been approached for a comment by Express.co.uk

A spokesperson for Parkingeye told M.E.N: “The motorist parked in a designated hatched area that is strictly reserved and provides access for emergency vehicles only, he therefore correctly received a parking charge.

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“Parkingeye operates a British Parking Association audited appeals process, which motorists can use to appeal their parking charge.

“If anyone has mitigating circumstances, we would encourage them to highlight this by appealing.

“Mr Ling chose to appeal to POPLA, the independent body which reviews all cases, which upheld the decision.

“However as a gesture of good will, on this occasion only, we are prepared to cancel the charge.” 

A spokesperson for Manchester Universities NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the eye hospital, told M.E.N.: “It’s really important for health and safety to ensure the hatched areas at our hospitals are clear at all times.

“Most of the charities which have volunteers delivering patients are very aware of this.

“As a gesture of good faith on this occasion, we’ll ensure that Mr Ling isn’t left out of pocket.

“We’ll also write to Being There to make sure going forwards they have the key contact within the Trust who can help facilitate car parking arrangements in our sites.”

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