Thursday, 7 August 2008

It’s expensive being ill

I got to thinking the other day about some of the hidden costs of a long term illness. A couple of years ago our miserly hospital trust board who were in debt introduced car parking charges for disabled badge holders and made big increase to parking charges for everyone else. I off course made a big fuss and campaigned vigorously against the disabled element of this policy. It didn’t affect me directly but to me it was just a tax on the sick. We got little local political support for the campaign but I met some super people from various older people’s and specialised disability support groups most of which were older people themselves. I organised a group’s petition which went to the hospital board from the chair of one of the groups. Our campaign failed to get the policy reversed but there was a significant spin off. A lovely man called Alan Jones from Access Alliance who campaigns locally for wheel chair users really got his teeth into the campaign. Eventually a token scheme was introduced where you can purchase up front ten car park tokens for £10. Each token covers a stay at any of our trust hospital sites. The scheme was badly publicised at first but Alan and a couple of the other group leaders started purchasing these tokens for their members and eventually it was given more publicity at the hospital itself. The last time I used one of these it saved me £2.50. Well done Alan, Graham, Sue, John, Daphne and Co I’m proud of you. The quiet minority who fight for justice. I big raspberry to the politicos’ who gave it lip service then looked the other way. But why did we have to have the struggle.
Reminder to Bob! Get some more tokens.


John Edwards said...

Bob, Just to set the record straight about politcal interest, the Scrutiny process in Sandwell took a very keen interest in the issue of charges for hospital parking at the time they were first proposed. One of our many reconmmendations on the issue was the season ticket offer you make reference to.
John Edwards

Bob the Black Country Brummie said...

Thanks for your comment John, I’m honoured. It’s always difficult knowing who is on your side when you are fighting a cause like that and for the layman to know what is going on behind the scenes. You will know doubt remember the town Committee when I first raised the issue. Perhaps the less said about that the better. Not Sandwell’s finest hour.