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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 September, 2003, 19:50 GMT 20:50 UK
Hospital charges 10 for parking
Parking sign
No more free parking at Havelock St
Managers at the Leicester Royal Infirmary have defended their decision to abolish free parking at the hospital.

Many people who visit patients regularly are angered by the decision.

Among them are Carl and Louise Russell, who regularly visit their son Thomas.

Thomas has been at the hospital for the past 18 months since being born prematurely, and the Russells will now have to pay for parking - 10 a day or a 25 weekly rate.

Mrs Russell said: "I'm just disgusted, it's horrendous... being forced to pay money to see your really ill son."

We have got to come and see our son... they are just cashing in on people who are unfortunate
Carl Russell

The charge applies to the council's Havelock Street car park.

However the hospital's facilities manager Andrew Powell, said the fees were necessary and the hospital could no longer make exceptions.

He said: "We have about 700 people arrive every day we have 341 spaces.

"Previously something like 550 concessions were given out each day ... many times inappropriately and staff are often badgered into giving free passes where it really isn't applicable."

The hospital will raise 1,000 a day from the fees, which will be used to fund maintenance and staffing of car parks.

More expensive

It says the fees are based on current daily rates and will allow the car park to become self funding, rather than diverting funds from patient care.

But Mr Russell said: "They are just cashing in on it and there's nothing we can do.

"We have got to come and see our son... they are just cashing in on people who are unfortunate."

The Leicester charge is considerably more expensive than fees at other East Midlands hospitals, such as the Derby Royal Infirmary and Queens Medical Centre in Nottingham.

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