Worksop nurses unable to afford parking fees at Bassetlaw Hospital have been left distraught after parking their cars on a residential roads and returning from long shifts to find them vandalised.
Laura Jordan said her car was spray-painted red after she parked it on Inglemere Close, which is situated close to the hospital.
The part-time nurse claims she is not the first person to have been targeted, with colleagues who have been forced to park on the same road returning to their cars to find them “keyed” or with “glue” applied to their windscreens.
The damage comes after Inglemere Close residents have complained that Bassetlaw Hospital staff have been parking on their road to avoid leaving their vehicles on the hospital site at a cost of £33.33 per month.
Laura, who says she and her colleagues are parking “legally”, has issued an urgent message to residents asking them to “help, not harm” Bassetlaw Hospital staff.
She said: “I want to go to work. I love my job, but I cannot afford to pay the parking fees.
“Since the new scheme came into place, I have struggled to find somewhere to park my car, so that I can continue delivering care to many patients on my ward.
“Our cars were not blocking any driveways, nor caused access issues.vWhat I am asking is for Bassetlaw residents to help us.
“Don’t harm us. We’re here to help you all, so help us. We don’t want to park on your streets.”
The Guardian spoke to Inglemere Close residents including Kim Gallagher, who said the matter has been “ongoing for several years”.
“I heard that cars had been vandalised, and that’s very much below the belt,” said Kim.
“But something needs to be done. I can barely get my car up the road and it’s only a matter of time before there’s an accident.”
Sandra Woodhall, who also lives on Inglemere Close, said
She told the Guardian: “Nobody wants to pay to park at work- I certainly wouldn’t.
“But it’s go to the point where our driveways are being blocked- there have been many times when I have been unable to get my car out and have to get the bus to wherever I need to be.
“Not long ago, there was a funeral here and the hearse had difficulty getting up and down the road.
“If there was an emergency, fire engines and ambulances would have also have difficulty as it is a narrow road as it is.
“Some of the workers you speak to can be abusive when you ask them politely to move. It’s just getting out of hand.”
Last week, Nottinghamshire County Council leader Alan Rhodes asked that the charging policy for Bassetlaw Hospital staff be reversed as it was causing a “dangerous” situation for residents.
Coun Rhodes, who represents Worksop North East and Carlton-in-Lindrick, added that the charges were “damaging” the hospital’s relationship with the community.
He said: “The situation in respect of on-street parking in some of the residential areas surrounding Bassetlaw Hospital is completely unsustainable and, in my opinion, dangerous.
“It is clear to me that the parking charging policies are failing as increasing numbers of staff and visitors are deciding not to pay to park on-site and instead choosing to park on surrounding streets.
“It is important that the hospital has a good relationship with its neighbours, and that the presence of the hospital is not regarded as detrimental to the neighbourhood.”
Commenting on the vandalism, Coun Rhodes said: “I’m aware of what residents are going through but I cannot condone any damage being done to cars belonging to hospital staff- it’s completely uncalled for.”
Coun Rhodes has written to chair of the Bassetlaw Hospitals Trust, Chris Scholey, asking him to consider the “negative impact” the parking charges have on Worksop residents and workers.
He says he is “disappointed” that he has not yet received a response from Mr Scholey.
Kirsty Edmondson-Jones, director of estates and facilities at Bassetlaw Hospitals Trust, said: “The Trust has charged staff, patients and visitors to park on site for a number of years in line with many other NHS Trusts and Department of Health guidance published in October 2015 entitled ‘NHS Patient, Visitor and Staff Car Parking Principles’.
“We have recently rolled out a staff parking permit system on all of our sites to ensure patient and visitor parking is prioritised whilst maintaining spaces for members of the team.
“While we process applications and implement this system, most of our staff car parks are free to access and we now offer a discount of 40 per cent for lower paid and part-time workers, bringing permits down to £20 per month, while normal fees work out at just over £1 per day.
“Through our weekly staff bulletin and other means, we regularly remind our staff to be considerate and respectful when leaving their vehicle off-site, ensuring they do not block off drive-ways or obstruct access to property.
“We are happy to work with our neighbours to resolve any issues.”