Common sense prevails in ambulance dispute

Parking tickets not to be issued at Goldhawk Road station

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London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham

London Ambulance Service

The possibility of Chiswick and Hammersmith's nearest ambulance station moving to Hanwell has receded following an agreement between the Council and London Ambulance service.

Parking attendents employed by Hammersmith and Fulham Council had been given instructions to issued tickets to any ambulances parked in the bus lane on the stretch of the Goldhawk Road opposite the site of the former Queen Charlotte's maternity hospital.

A spokesperson for London Ambulance Service told us, "The Service has appealed against the issuing of these parking tickets arguing the ambulances, although not actively attending patients, are still being used for medical purposes, being parked outside Chiswick Station for short periods of time while paramedics wait to be dispatched on 999 calls in the area."

The Council had reportedly claimed that the ambulance service was like any other business and that paramedics should use public transport to get to work rather than cars which would free up space for the ambulances to park off-street.

Local paramedic Graeme Proudfoot raised the issue on this site's discussion forum prompting a number of complaints from members of the public. The Chiswick ambulance station is a satellite of the main station at Hanwell and, according to Mr. Proudfoot would have 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.

The Council has now told the ambulance service that as well as ceasing to ticket vehicles on standby they will rescind and penalty notices that have been given on the Goldhawk Road where it can be demonstrated that they were parked in readiness for immediate use by paramedics.

Hammersmith and Fulham Council did not respond for a request for an explanation as to why they initially adopted a policy of ticketing emergency vehicles. As significant proportion of their revenue comes from penalty charge notices.

January 14, 2005