Tom Barnes - Chief Reporter
Front line health workers who have to make home visits to see vulnerable clients in east London are incensed about crippling parking fees being demanded by money grabbing town hall chiefs. Greedy Tower Hamlets council are charging mobile National Health Service staff £525 annually to park their car when visiting sick people in the borough.
The workers are expected to pass on the bill to the tax payers when they fill in their annual return to the inland revenue. But critics say that such public money would be better used improving patient care for the needy.
Community healthcare workers provide a vital service for elderly and incapacitated patients unable to visits their doctor or hospital.
One frontline community healthcare worker, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, fumed: "I was horrified to learn the price of the car parking permit for us in Tower Hamlets is £525 a car, multiply that by the number of people needing to get about and it runs into hundreds of thousands pounds. Healthcare organisations and GPs are having to pay out for staff to be able to do their job which is looking after the community that local authorities take council tax from, by imposing these charges they are only now taking away from patient care in the same community."
Louise Smale, an 82-year-old former shop workers and resident of Tower Hamlets, angrily rebuked the local council: “Its disgraceful that they should charge so much. I can longer get down to see my local doctor and without this service I would be completely isolated from medical care…these people are heroes of the local community and the council are treating them with complete disrespect. They should be very ashamed and I intend to make a complaint.”
Despite providing critical services to Tower Hamlet council tax payers, some of which are terminally ill, greedy councillors are unrepentant about the charges and even admitted the prices are deliberately set high.
“We’ve considered these costs carefully - and believe they should be set at a level that discourages unnecessary car use in the borough - so that passes are used only by people who absolutely need to travel by car.”
When questioned why parking permits for healthcare workers are so expensive in Tower Hamlets when just down the road in Barking and Dagenham staff pay just £30 a year a spokesperson claimed: “Our pricing policy reflects our desire to prevent unnecessary car journeys. We’re not in a position to comment on the parking policies of other councils.”