PATIENTS at a Runcorn medical practice are reportedly being fined up to £100 due to a ‘faulty’ parking machine.

Resident and patient at Brookvale Medical Centre, John McKune, was visiting for a routine appointment when he was later issued a parking fine.

“I am disabled so I have a blue parking badge,” John said. “I entered my registration number into the machine. Next thing, I have been given a fine, it was £100.”

John said the machine has a ‘fault’ and he has been to appointments since where he has had to enter his registration multiple times before it registers his vehicle properly as a patient for the practice.

“I have spoken to two ladies who have been forced to pay £100 each a fortnight ago and one lady said she just popped in for five minutes.”

The 63-year-old said when the fine was issued, he approached the reception at the medical practice to ask if they could do anything as parking is supposed to be free for patients at the practice.

Sadly, they said no help could be given.

John, who has several medical needs and requires regular appointments at the doctors, stated something must be done to fix the issue before more people are fined.

“The machine is still not working properly. How many more people have been fined. You should not have this when you go to a doctor’s appointment.”

The resident, who lives not far from the Hospital Way practice, said he knows at least four other individuals who have been fined for the same issue.

“This company are getting thousands of pounds out of vulnerable people just going to the doctors.”

John appealed the fine via a letter and was made to pay £15 instead of the initial larger sum ‘under duress’.

Brookvale Medical Practice provided a comment on the issue, stating that the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) company is independent to the health care centre and does not receive any financial benefit from any individuals who are fined.

They also highlighted that the company has a ‘tried and tested’ appeal service for any fines made.

A spokesperson from the practice said: “Both practices within the Health Centre along with our PPG’s (Patient Participation Group) and CCG(Clinical Commissioning Group) were involved in discussions for over two years with regards to the installation of ANPR’s (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) which have been installed since October 2020.

“The decision was not taken lightly and has been taken in the best interest of our patients.

“Our overriding aim is to ensure that we provide quality care for our patients and unfortunately with the repeated misuse of the car park we had no choice but to implement these procedures.

“As a practice patients health and wellbeing is of upmost importance and for this reason we have taken all relevant steps to communicate to our practice populations and visitors of the Health Centre.”

The health centre referred to ‘seven notices’ that are dotted around the car park including one at the entrance and a seven-foot standalone poster ‘advertising patients to input their car registration details’.

“There are six clearly identifiable tablets available throughout the building for patients to input their details,” they added.

“If patients use the health centre for less than 15 minutes, they are not required to input their details.

“Staff are available to assist patients that are having difficulty entering information. It is certainly not our intention to cause financial hardship to our patients and we have been assured that the company has a “full tried and tested appeals service”.

“The ANPR company is independent of the health centre and we do not receive any financial gain.”