Hospitals combat parking abuse

Drivers are being prevented from abusing free car parking at hospitals in Wales after health chiefs introduced a series of tough measures to combat the problem.

Parking charges were scrapped at most Welsh hospitals five months ago and since then patients have reported being unable to find a parking space.

Wrexham Maelor Hospital in North Wales has now introduced a new system whereby people parking at the site for more than two hours will be fined £70 if they are unable to prove they had an appointment.

Meanwhile, there are plans to introduce a token system at Swansea's Singleton Hospital after hospital bosses identified a problem with commuters, shoppers and students taking up the spaces.

Chris Thomas, Royal College of Nursing spokesperson for Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University NHS Trust, which runs Singleton Hospital, told Wales Online: "Free car parking was a really good idea for patients but it is causing horrendous problems for patients because it has become a free-for-all.

"Patients are struggling to find a parking space and we have seen that some patients have raised blood pressure by the time they get to their hospital appointment."

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