Disabled drivers attending appointments or visiting patients at Warwick Hospital are no longer automatically entitled to free parking.
Last Monday (October 21), South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust - which runs the hospital, as well as the Central Rehabilitation Unit near Leamington - introduced new car parking charges which mean drivers with a blue badge to indicate their disability must now pay the same amount as everyone else.
Those who are claiming means-tested benefits are eligible to claim back the costs.
Lillington pensioner Dennis Barnwell, whose 68-year-old wife Dorothy is disabled and has a blue badge, is unimpressed with the new system - which he says he was unaware of until a neighbour told him last Monday, despite being a regular visitor to Warwick Hospital.
The Mason Avenue resident said: “My neighbour and my wife and I take it in turns to take another neighbour, who is 93, to hospital for monthly appointments.
“Dorothy has a blue badge because she has arthritis, rheumatism, a spine problem and other issues. She has to go to the hospital quite often.
“I am very annoyed. Last year I had to stay in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham for ten weeks and my wife would come to visit me all the time. We didn’t pay a penny for parking.”
He added: “What annoys me most is that if you get certain benefits you can claim the car park charge back, but people like my wife cannot. That’s discrimination.”
A spokeswoman for the trust confirmed that the car parking charges had been changed. She said: “Signs have been on display in the car parks and it has also been on our website.
“If blue badge holders are on means-tested benefits, forms can be collected from the security office and volunteers desk at Warwick hospital and both main reception desks at Stratford and Leamington hospitals, which will enable them to claim these costs back.”