Saturday, August 22, 2009

Patients fine ... Doctor fined

Yet again this highlights that cash comes before common sense. Shame on you Sheffield Council.

Parking fines review after doctor case
by David Walsh
Sheffield Star
15th August 2009

A MAJOR review of parking ticket appeals has been launched at Sheffield Council after an A&E doctor, who was 14 minutes late because of an emergency, had his plea for leniency rejected.
Coun Ian Auckland, cabinet member for transport, said he wanted the authority to be "more flexible" and "fairer" over appeals, and for motorists to be given more help to lodge the best possible defence.

He announced the review after Dr Ashish Chaudhry wrote to The Star when his appeal was dismissed.

The medic, who was working in A&E at Sheffield Children's Hospital, received a ticket after being 14 minutes late back to his car because he was dealing with a sick child. He appealed, stating the hospital had been inundated with queries about swine flu and had been working flat out, and that day there were no other doctors available. But Sheffield Council dismissed his claim stating the excuse did not 'constitute grounds to cancel the penalty charge notice'.

However, Coun Auckland ensured the fine was refunded after the doctor wrote to The Star saying his treatment lacked humanity or respect. Now Coun Auckland has announced a wide ranging review aimed at giving officials greater discretion over appeals.

He said: "At the moment there is not enough flexibility in the policy. It could be more flexible - and this case highlights that. "I read the letter and thought, 'He's got a good excuse, are we cancelling enough such cases? And whatever the strength of someone's story, are we making it clear people can appeal?'"

In this particular case, as the doctor leaving his duties could well have caused unnecessary suffering to a child patient, the council felt the ticket should be waived."Officers are writing a report on changes to the appeals system which is set to go before cabinet - and could become policy - in three months, Coun Auckland added. In 2006/07 Sheffield Council raised £5.2 m from parking charges and fines and £1.4 m profit. The council says profits are ploughed back into traffic schemes.

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