Councillors and committees
To consider questions from the gallery on items which are not on the agenda
Sally Brittain, Director of Nursing and Quality attended for this item to answer questions on Disabled Parking at Kingston Hospital which this Panel considered at the extra meeting held on 11 February 2018.
Ms Brittain explained that the Hospital had paused the charging for blue badge holders during the period of the Hospital’s review. She explained that a survey had been undertaken (both electronic and paper). 398 responses had been received and these were being analysed. A third meeting of the Parking Review Group was taking place in three week’s time.
Lynne Finnerty, member of the public put forward the following questions:
For Kingston Hospital:
1. Why did the Trust ignore Department of Health & Social Care guidance on NHS patient, visitor and staff car parking principles?
2. Is it true that members of the review group were asked to provide feedback on the draft survey but it was rushed out before comments could be fully acted upon? Was this haste to pause the charges and launch the survey connected to the timeline of the legal challenge?
3. Is the Trust confident that the process and content for the survey will demonstrate compliance with the Equality Act and not leave it again open to legal challenge?
For the Panel:
1. From comments and Q&As at the HOP February meeting it appeared that people in the public gallery had more knowledge and understanding of equality duty than hospital representatives than some Panel members. Going forward, what has been/will be done to improve this situation? Has Public Sector Equality Duty been included in councillor induction or have any briefings taken place?
2. Given the change of Panel Chair and membership, please can you advise who is now taking part in the review?
3. Is there any intention for the new HOP membership to express its support of previous recommendations and/or to make comments on the current situation?
Ms Finnerty also commented on the lack of facilities for wheelchair users including a table at wheelchair user level.
Sally Brittain responded to the questions directed at the Hospital:
She explained that Equality guidance is detailed and comprehensive and there is a need to consider certain groups of people and staff. She confirmed that the Hospital offers disabled parking and concessions are available.
In relation to the question about the survey Ms Brittain explained that some comments were received early on in the survey and these were taken on board and the survey was adjusted. The Hospital wanted the survey to run for as long as possible. In response to the third question about the Hospital’s duty under the Equality Act, Ms Brittain was confident that the process fulfils the Equality Act and the survey was not undertaken because of concern about legal challenge.
In response to the questions directed to the Panel the Team Leader for Democratic Services stated that there had been no Equalities training so far for councillors following the local elections and this will take place in the autumn. The Chair of the Panel advised that he and the Vice Chair would be attending future meetings of the Parking Review Group, and the Vice Chair attended last week’s meeting on his behalf. He confirmed that the Panel would consider the report to the next meeting and will make recommendations.
Mr James Giles asked why Ann Radmore had been unable to attend the February meeting and Sally Brittain responded that this had previously been responded to. Mr Giles also asked whether hard copies of the consultation were available in the car park. Ms Brittain explained that paper copies were available and clarified that this was not a consultation, but a survey. The hospital did a wide outreach, offered assistance to those who needed help to complete it and she would report on the detail at the next meeting on survey results and process.
Anne Blanch asked how the hospital was going to involve carers in the review. Ms Brittain explained that details of the review were on the hospital’s website and could be obtained from Healthwatch. Healthwatch have assisted with providing contact details of disabled and carers groups.
Questions from the Panel:
In response to a question about when the review would be complete, Ms Brittain confirmed it was expected to take a few more weeks and will the Hospital will report in September.
In response to a question about the possibility of the Panel having sight of the outcomes before it goes to the Hospital’s executive board Ms Brittain confirmed that this would not be possible as the Trust needs to follow governance processes.
Councillor Christine Stuart (in the gallery) pointed out that there are 4200 Blue Badge Holders (BBHs) in Kingston and asked what attempts had been made to reach this group with regards to the survey. Ms Brittain responded that the Trust had reached out to a large number of BBHs.