Hospital Parking

This morning I had to pop down to my local hospital for an ECG. I have been having some palpitations recently so my GP wanted to see what my heart was playing at. I have been to the hospital on several occasions and was familiar with the ‘pay on exit’ system which seemed fine to me and worked well. You paid for the time you were there. You could pay by card. It was easy.
On arrival, I noticed that the barriers were gone and a sign told me that I needed to pay at the machine. I went to the machine and realised that I didn’t have enough change. I could have 20 minutes free or pay £3 for up to 12 hours. I had been told that the ECG would only take 5 minutes but didn’t dare risk the 20 minute approach. I had a £5 note – but the machine didn’t give change. There was no facility to pay by card but I could pay by mobile.
The lady in front of me didn’t know what to do and just gave up and left her car without paying. I rang the number given and wandered back to my car as I knew they would ask me for the registration number and I wanted to be certain I got it right. When I got through, it asked me to key in my ‘location’. This was a number back on the payment machine. I scooted back to the machine and entered the code, wandering back to my car. It wanted my bank card number. I rummaged through my bag to find my purse, then to fish out the right card. ‘Key in the expiry month’…..’Key in the expiry year’…..card back in purse. ‘Key in the three digit code from the back of your card’….rummage for purse and fish out card again. ‘Would you like to park the car with this number?’ Erm… ‘This number?’ Erm….no. ‘Please hold’.
By now, I was getting just a bit frustrated. A man on the phone asked me for the registration number and then put me back on the automated system. ‘Please key in the last 4 digits of your bank card’. Aaaarrrggghhhh! Rummage and fish again. ‘How many hours would you like?’ Well, actually, just one would be fine but you are going to make me pay for twelve! Hooray! You have paid £3.20 to park your car. What?? Oh! The 20p is an admin fee.
I made my way to the ECG Unit, sure that this experience would trigger my palpitations once more.
What an absolute shambles – and to add insult to injury, this money doesn’t even go back to my local hospital where it would be well-used, but to a private company.
And yes, the staff have to pay to park as well. For goodness’ sake….


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