Page last updated at 11:13 GMT, Saturday, 12 July 2008 12:13 UK

Hospital puts clamp on ambulances

A hospital has admitted clamping ambulances for parking infringements and charging 50 for their release.

Security staff at King's College Hospital, south London, are clamping the non-emergency ambulances for spending too long in drop-off bays.

Twenty ambulances operated by private firm Caring For You (CFY) have been clamped on the site in the past year.

A hospital spokesman said it made it clear to ambulance drivers "where and for how long" they are allowed to park.

CFY ambulances take non-emergency patients into the hospital if they cannot use public transport, do not have their own vehicle and if no-one else can transport them.

'Extreme case'

The hospital spokesman said: "A CFY vehicle would only be used as an emergency vehicle in a very extreme case, other than that they are simply for transport."

They clamp ambulances parked for more than an hour "to allow other vehicles into the area," the spokesman said.

"There is a separate parking area around the corner where they can park for longer than an hour but not everyone uses it," he added.

The parking guidelines helped other vehicles move freely around the site, he said, "as well as ensuring the safety of pedestrians".

CFY was unavailable to comment.


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