Wales politics

Hospital car parking must be properly enforced, Carwyn Jones says

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Media captionCarwyn Jones said the fines were "unfortunate" but rules were needed for safety

Parking rules at Wales' biggest hospital need to be "properly enforced", the first minister has said.

A judge ruled on Friday that private company Indigo could collect charges from staff at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) in Cardiff.

The judgement means 75 people with outstanding tickets must pay the debt, which runs into thousands of pounds.

Carwyn Jones said it was "unfortunate" for them, but said the rules were introduced after a death on the site.

The health workers who lost their case at Cardiff's Civil Justice Centre said hospital staff had permits which allowed them to park in designated areas for £1.05 a day, but claimed a lack of spaces meant many had been forced to park in unauthorised areas.

During First Minister's Questions on Tuesday, Mr Jones told assembly members: "It's important I think that the reasoning behind the court case is understood.

"The reason why enforcement was put in place was because there had been a death on the site, partially due to illegal parking and partially due to the traffic flow going through the site.

"Some 16,000 traffic movements [per day] go through UHW at the moment and it's right that there is proper enforcement of illegal and unsafe parking. So that has to happen on a site that is so busy."

Image caption Parking at the hospital is managed by a private company

He added: "Why these individuals went to court and what advice they received is difficult to know.

"We do know that one of them in particular had 59 parking tickets ... no explanation is given as to why that is.

"It's unfortunate for those individuals, I understand that," Mr Jones said.

"But it's important that there is proper enforcement on the UHW site in terms of safety and to stop parking there all day, in order to make sure that patients who arrive on site do have places to park."

Cardiff and Vale University Health Board has said more than 98% of staff complied with parking regulations and said it was "disappointing" some had "chosen to refuse to co-operate".

Plaid Cymru AM Neil McEvoy called on the Welsh Government to mediate in order to resolve the situation.

"I want our nurses and doctors to have their minds on helping the sick, not the hospital's parking meter," he said.

Parking was made free at most hospitals in Wales in 2008 under a Labour/Plaid Cymru coalition deal, except for some larger sites where the service had been contracted to private companies.

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