Ambulance dispute flares up again

Council branded 'a disgrace' for continuing to issue parking tickets

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London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

London Ambulance Service

The dispute between London Ambulance Service and Hammersmith and Fulham Council over the ticketing of ambulances has flared up again, dashing hopes of a resolution.

Despite a statement from the Ambulance Service that an agreement had been reached, parking attendants have started giving tickets to ambulances again on the bus lane in Goldhawk Road.

In an incident on Tuesday a parking attendant allegedly gave a ticket to an ambulance which was in the process of being towed away having broken down.

A spokesperson for Hammersmith & Fulham Council said, "the council has shown great forbearance in not ticketing the ambulances as their first response, but rather asking them to be moved out of the bus lane. When the ambulances are however left in the lane they are ticketed."

He added that the matter should have been dealt with internally by the ambulance station by parking emergency vehicles in their designated off street parking bays.

A spokesperson for London Ambulance Service told us last week that tickets would not be issued to vehicles deemed to be on stand by. Paramedics claim that an attempt was being made to present the issue as having been resolved due to interest in the dispute from a national newspaper.

Gary Malcolm, the Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for the Ealing, Acton and Shepherd's Bush constituency called the Council's stance a disgrace saying, "People who are doing their job such as ambulance staff, people transporting organs or blood etc. should not be ticketed in this 'money making' schemes. These people are trying to help people and should not be treated with disrespect. We need our ambulance service and they need to park."

The dispute was drawn to the attention of the public when local paramedic Graeme Proudfoot raised the issue on this site's discussion forum. The Chiswick ambulance station is a satellite of the main station at Hanwell and, according to Mr. Proudfoot it would become impossible to staff if paramedics couldn't drive to work. They are required to work unsocial shift hours and, because of relatively low pay, often live a considerable distance from the station meaning that most would need to transfer from Chiswick. No alternative site in the area is available.

January 19, 2005