Why doesn’t the hospital have more blue spots?

| 27/06/2019
Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian status

I frequently go to George Town Hospital for appointments with my disabled spouse. We have a disabled tag for our car so can park in the handicapped spots. However, there have been instances when every one of the six blue spots in the main parking lot is taken, either by cars carrying disabled tags or, sometimes, by those parking illegally. I have two questions about this. Can you find out what hospital security does, if anything, when a handicapped spot is being used illegally? Will the hospital add a few more blue spots to ensure everyone who needs one has access to one?

Auntie’s answer: This looks like the week to discuss handicapped parking, which is fine since I certainly do not mind calling attention to any issue that may affect access. Once more a reader has asked specifically about a situation at the hospital, which is a place that above all others should provide adequately for its disabled patients and visitors.

I can report that the lack of blue spots is being addressed. Health Services Authority (HSA) CEO Lizzette Yearwood explained the changes that have been and will be made to accommodate people needing to park in blue spots.

One major improvement is the agreement arranged last year between the hospital and next-door neighbour, the Seventh-day Adventist Church, to use its carpark “exclusively for patients” from 7am to 6pm on weekdays, which many people may not be aware of. This lot has eight parking spots assigned for older persons which are also for patients with mobility challenges. And since those spots may not be big enough to accommodate all disabled people, the HSA is in discussions with the church administrators about potentially widening the parking spaces to meet the requirements of those drivers and passengers.

It is also envisioned that patients who may have “temporary mobility challenges who do not have a handicapped sticker” can use this additional parking area, especially because the HSA is now using a purpose-built golf cart to transport patients from parking lot to hospital building.   

Ms Yearwood explained that since there is only one such shuttle, the best way to arrange to get picked up is to call 916-8301 and someone from the patient services team will help.

As for hospital security, one of the roles for the officers is to monitor compliance with parking policies, she said, adding, “Where there are violations of the policy, including parking by able-bodied individuals in spots designed for patients with mobility challenges, the security officers as a first step will educate the individual about the patient parking designations and assist with finding alternate parking.” 

Ms Yearwood also said that as part of a public education campaign, “we will look at disseminating information regarding appropriate parking in the marked spots”.

Based on what I, and I know others, have seen, I wholeheartedly agree that education is necessary on what constitutes proper use of a disabled spot (hint: it is not for dropping off a package or a quiet place to eat lunch in your car).

One other issue, though, is that the lack of a disabled tag does not necessarily mean the person is not handicapped. Sometimes people simply fail to hang the tag or forget it at home. This becomes a larger problem when an RCIPS patrol sees a car in a blue spot without a tag. And that is why Ms Yearwood says the hospital prefers to utilise its own staff when it comes to parking enforcement because they may know if a driver is actually handicapped or has a temporary “mobility challenge”.

The HSA is also in the process of moving outpatient services down the road to Smith Road Centre which will reduce the parking pressure at the hospital.

Finally, I cannot end this without once again stressing (because there are still people that refuse to get it) that only disabled members of our community are allowed to use handicapped spots. If your excuse for parking your car in a blue spot starts with “But I was only…” (I can fill in any manner of stupid responses here, all of which point to the laziness of the driver and the complete lack of respect for those people in genuine need of a wide spot by an entrance to a store or building), please stop right there, apologise and never do it again. It is just that simple.

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Comments (13)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    As someone else said, the hospital just needs more parking, period. That’s why there aren’t more disabled parking spots. Because then some other patient/visitor/client doesn’t have place to park. Especially with all of the ‘geriatric’ parking spots that sprang up. (Were requested by older patients. For very logical reasons.)

    What the hospital needs is enough parking for two tiers (a) close to the hospital, wider bays for ‘mobility limited’ persons (handicapped, old, pregnant, broken leg, etc.). (b) healthy (patients & staff) parking spots across the road or at the church.

    • Anonymous says:

      1.12pm… As a ‘geriatric’ person, I really appreciate the parking spots that ‘sprang up’ as I have severe hip problems and could likely qualify as a disabled person anyway. I do agree about the wider bays and the need for enough parking for both ‘geriatric’ and disabled parking.The issue then boils back down to those inconsiderable ‘s**b’s’ who do not give 2 ‘you know whats’ about these designated spots and fill them anyway. If I could, I would slap their windshields with one of those hard to remove adhesive notices once I was sure they were an offender.This is where security would come in place but then again..another budget constraint…

  2. Anonymous says:

    HAS needs more parking spaces period! I have been there on several occasions and have had to keep circling around several times to wait for someone to come out of a spot so I can park.

    Maybe think about building a parking area with a couple of floors.

  3. Say it like it is says:

    If ever there was a location that needs plenty of disabled parking spots, it’s the hospital. However on the other side of the coin, take the disabled spots at Kirk Market, I go there several times a week and only on rare occasions do I see even one in use, all the others are always empty.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Becuase Handicapped people don’t often drive.

    • Anonymous says:

      Huh?? Rubbish.

    • Anon says:

      3.50pm I assume you are mentally handicapped, or a joker.However there is some truth in your statement in that a lot of drivers are using handicap tags belonging to relatives who are not accompanying them.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why aren’t there pregnant parking spots around? Pregnancy isn’t a disability per say but it does alleviate the need for a heavily pregnant woman to walk long distances which can be quite difficult.

    • Anonymous says:

      3.43pm Why aren’t there pregnant parking spots around? Because they are infertile or using condoms. Duh

  6. Anonymous says:

    It was a nice improvement to see the parking spot arrangements for older persons at the church. As an older person myself, I am simply amazed to see how mant of my peers of similar age are looking so young these days ! Every time I have visited HSA there is a 20 something looking 60+ year old getting out of their vehicle at one of the spots designated for us older folks…even when there are plenty of regular spots available. I also am a blood donor and can rarely get a spot because of illegal parkers. On one of my donating appointments I watched someone parking there and invited her to become a blood donor…no response….

  7. Anonymous says:

    Simple answer to the headline question – because the authorities on these islands refuse to recognise the needs of the disabled.

    In the UK they have the Equality Act 2010 to protect the needs of disabled people and the EHRC to back it up – we don’t have that.

  8. Anonymous says:

    They have elderly spots but no spots for people with newborns. Most people do not think when parking next to a car as close as possible that you may have just blocked the door they put their newborn car seat through (which can come out in most cases). I’ve had to wait for awhile for the other person to move their car before I could put my child in. Face it, this island, even the hospitals, are ill equipped to deal with babies/handicap/bikes.

  9. Anonymous says:

    So no new blue spots actually at the hospital?