Permit cutbacks

PUBLISHED: 13:19 01 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:30 06 May 2010

SIR — Further to your piece about Hospital staff suffer parking permit cuts (Herts Advertiser, September 17) I d like to add that voluntary organisations who provide transport to WHHT have also been hit by the lack of permits. Harpenden Helping Hand, wh

SIR - Further to your piece about 'Hospital staff suffer parking permit cuts' (Herts Advertiser, September 17) I'd like to add that voluntary organisations who provide transport to WHHT have also been hit by the lack of permits.

Harpenden Helping Hand, who have been transporting patients to our local hospitals for the last 30 years, used to be provided with permits so that our clients (the patients), who cannot afford taxi fares, etc., also didn't need to pay the often very expensive parking fees.

Unlike taxis, we don't drop the clients off and drive away, we take the patients in and, if needed, stay with them for the duration of the appointment before taking them back home.

Until recently this system worked very well but I think there are two points that need making to the powers that be:

The first is that we (and other local voluntary organisations like ours) are doing the NHS Trust a huge favour providing this service and we transport many elderly and disabled people to their appointments.

If we weren't doing this would the NHS be providing transport to this vulnerable cohort? I very much doubt it.

Secondly, while we have many driver volunteers who could be required to make a journey to the WHHT hospitals and therefore all need permits, in any one week there are probably only two or three car parking spaces needed at the hospitals by Harpenden Helping Hand, and then only for the length of time the patient requires.

There seems to be an implication in our dealings with those in charge of this matter, that we all might fancy using the permits to park in their car parks for the sheer fun of it.

Gladly, we have better things to do, one of which is serving our community.

While I am very sympathetic to all the staff who have lost the right to permits, let's not forget the patients in this picture.

Meanwhile our charity lives in hope that somebody involved in this parking fiasco sees the light.

C ANN BROOKS

Chairman, Harpenden Helping Hand

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