A UK hospital has had to spend £60,000 ($100,000) on two special custom golf carts to transport disabled patients from their parking spots to the hospital entrance. The UK’s Daily Mail reports that the new £400million ($650million) University Hospital of North Staffordshire had to buy the golf carts after the disabled parking bays were placed 140m from the hospital.
"The bays are too far away from the main hospital entrance and it’s not acceptable to expect patients with blue badges for disabled parking to walk.", a spokesman said, "The idea is they will pick up disabled patients from the edge of the parking area and take them to the main entrance."
Disabled parking spots that we see outside stores and public buildings are usually placed close to the entrances so that those with disabilities can easily get from their cars and in through the doors. But it seems, not in the UK.
Disabled patients, many with wheelchairs, walking sticks or crutches had to struggle to get themselves to the front door and into the hospital. Patients groups complained to the hospital and it was decided to spend funds on the golf carts in order to alleviate the patient's inconvenience and suffering.
Pam Bryan, vice-chairman of Stoke-on-Trent District Disability Network, said: 'The buggies [golf carts] are better than nothing, but they are not a permanent answer to the problem.
The hospital is appealing for volunteers to drive the carts back and forth from the disabled parking to the hospitals main entrance.
Although it's great to see that golf carts are being used more and more in situations like this, a planning blunder has cost a cash strapped hospital much needed funds that could be spent on patient care. During a time of extreme austerity cut-backs by the UK government this must be difficult to accept.