Health board gets tough on misuse of disabled parking at hospitals

Anyone parking in a disabled space at University Hospital Ayr without a blue badge is liable to face a fine
Anyone parking in a disabled space at University Hospital Ayr without a blue badge is liable to face a fine

Drivers who use disabled parking bays inappropriately in NHS Ayrshire & Arran car parks will soon be liable for a hefty fine.

At its meeting on Monday, Ayrshire and Arran NHS Board members agreed to create a traffic regulation, which would make it an offence for anyone not displaying a blue badge to park in designated disabled parking bays at the main hospital sites.

The regulation will also apply to those who park longer than the stated time in the drop-off areas at hospital entrances.

NHS Ayrshire & Arran will work alongside the Ayrshire Roads Alliance to create the regulation, which will encourage behaviour change by those who misuse the disabled parking bays and free these up for people who have a genuine need to park closer to hospital entrances.

John Wright, director for Corporate Support Services, said: “Across our sites, we have almost 5500 car parking spaces, 261 of which are dedicated disabled parking bays.

“Despite this, we receive a high number of complaints from service users and visitors to our hospitals that these disabled parking bays are often filled with cars not displaying a blue badge.

“Currently, the misuse of disabled spaces carries a penalty in public car parks and roads, but not in hospital sites.

“By introducing this traffic regulation, we hope to discourage drivers from parking inappropriately – either in disabled parking bays or in the drop-off areas at our hospital entrances.”

The Disabled Persons’ Parking Places Act (Scotland) 2009 gives local authorities the power to create a traffic regulation which would make it an offence for anyone not displaying a blue badge to park in disabled bays.

Regulations can also include time-limited spaces such as drop-off spaces.

Ayrshire Roads Alliance, acting on behalf of East and South Ayrshire Councils, would ‘police’ these spaces and issue any relevant penalty notices.

Enforcement in North Ayrshire remains with Police Scotland at this time, and so any penalties issued would be treated in the same manner as other traffic offences.

Currently a parking penalty fine for the misuse of a designated Blue Badge parking space is £60, collection and management of which would fall within the remit of the local authorities.

Any income from the penalties would go to the relevant local authority and would cover the enforcement of the statutory instrument.

Mr Wright added: “We want to improve the hospital experience for everyone who visits our sites, and that includes the experience of those using our hospital car parks.

“We hope that by introducing this regulation, we can ensure that our car parks are used appropriately, and that those who need to park closer to our hospitals are able to do so easily.”