Cambridgeshire

Cambridge hospital builders use disabled parking spaces

Skip using two disability parking spaces, Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge Image copyright Angela Cavill-Burch
Image caption Angela Cavill-Burch took this photo on a visit to Addenbrooke's a few months ago

A hospital lets builders use disabled parking spaces so it can "keep in line with health and safety regulations".

Cambridge University Hospitals said it tried to limit use of blue badge bays by workmen at Addenbrooke's Hospital to the shortest time, and apologised.

Disability campaigner Gerri Bird, who is the mayor of Cambridge, said she first raised the issue eight years ago and was told it would not happen again.

"I'm shocked to hear it's up and running again," she said.

Mrs Bird, who uses a wheelchair, said the hospital "promised they wouldn't do it again" when she first raised the issue eight years ago through the Cambridge Forum of Disability.

"You've got to try to go around the whole site to find a parking bay and think 'how am I going to get to that clinic on time?' and it is distressing for [people with disabilities]."

Image copyright PA
Image caption Addenbrooke's Hospital treats 870,000 patients a year across its 73 acre (29.5 hectare) site

Angela Cavill-Burch takes her disabled husband Terence to Addenbrooke's every six months and said his consultant now books them a parking space.

Mrs Cavill-Burch said her husband "has no temperature control, so we have to get out of the car and into the hospital as soon as possible".

After they discovered a skip using two blue badge spaces on a previous visit, their consultant began booking them a space close to their clinic.

Cambridge University Hospitals said: "Unfortunately, when essential construction work takes place to improve our hospitals, we do sometimes have to use disabled bays around the site in order to keep in line with health & safety building regulations.

"We apologise for any inconvenience that this causes patients and visitors, and we try hard to limit this to the shortest time possible."

The hospital also offers a free wheelchair-accessible courtesy bus and Mrs Bird said she advised people to use that if they could not park close enough to their clinics.

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