The clamping and ticketing of hospital staff’s vehicles at Daisy Hill has been branded as “shocking” and “shameful”.
Police are believed to be on the scene speaking with parking attendants as a number of vehicles had clamps fitted this afternoon (Tuesday).
Speaking to Armagh I, Alliance representative Jackie Coade, said she became aware of the incident after receiving a number of calls from staff in nursing and social work at the Newry hospital.
“I know who the company are but I can’t get hold of them; I know police are on scene talking to the company but it is still an emerging situation and I hope they do the right thing.
“These are some of the community team who have called in before heading out; there is one young girl who is extremely distressed and does not seem to have the financial capability to have the clamp removed.”
Ms Coade stated she was shocked at the clamping, commenting: “Many of the nursing staff will not know they have been clamped until after they finish their shift.
“We have relied on hospital staff throughout the pandemic, they shouldn’t be paying for parking in the first place but to find that they have paid and are now clamped is ridiculous.”
Meanwhile, SDLP MLA Justin McNulty stated: “This is a real slap in the face to our front line health workers who have pushed themselves to the limit for us throughout the course of the pandemic.
“Aside from being very heavy handed, the clamping of on-call medical workers’ vehicles is also deeply irresponsible.
“I have requested an urgent meeting with the Trust to seek an explanation as to why this was allowed to take place, and to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.”
A spokesperson for the Southern Trust said: “It is absolutely vital that we can manage traffic flow on our very busy hospital sites and ensure that emergency and other essential vehicles have access at all times.
“The vast majority of people park their cars responsibly on our hospital sites and where appropriate pay the pay and display charge. Car parking enforcement is only applied to cars parked in disabled spaces without a blue badge or those blocking vital emergency or maintenance access or in a pay and display space without paying.
“Clamping on our sites is exceptionally rare and is only used as a last resort when someone has parked three times or more inappropriately. Unfortunately, this action was taken today in relation to two cars on the Daisy Hill Hospital site.
“Car parking enforcement is necessary to deter people from parking inappropriately and to provide a safer, more accessible environment for everyone using our hospitals. We ask for the support of staff, patients and visitors in helping to make the best use of car parking around our sites.
“Whilst the majority of parking is free of charge on both sites, we encourage staff to use the car parks further away from the main buildings, leaving those spaces closer to the hospitals for patients.”