To coincide with national Carers’ Rights Day on Friday 28 November, Torbay Hospital has announced free hospital parking for all registered carers whilst they are supporting the person they look after.
South Devon Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, the trust responsible for running Torbay Hospital, is one of the first in England to offer free parking to registered carers.
Dr John Lowes, Interim Chief Executive of Torbay Hospital said: “Family members and friends who provide unpaid care to our patients at home are invaluable, so we wanted to do something to make their hospital visits a little less stressful, and to demonstrate that we really do value what they do.
“It is a very simple system – if someone is registered with either Devon or Torbay Carers Services, they just need to display their Carers Card on the car dashboard whilst they are parked in the public pay and display areas, and they will not be charged for parking.”
Katy Heard, Carers Lead for Torbay, added: “So often family members and friends who provide support to people who are ill or frail, disabled or have mental health, drug or alcohol issues, do not recognise themselves as carers and this scheme will encourage them to find out more. Being registered with Torbay or Devon’s Carers Services often gives carers peace of mind. The Carers Emergency / Alert Card acts as a back-up plan for the person they support if the carer is involved in an emergency. There are also newsletters with information about finances, support, and various courses such as first aid, legal workshops, and much more.
“Torbay Hospital will also be encouraging carers to become more involved with a patient’s care, recognising that the carer is often the expert about pre-existing conditions, especially if the person has a learning disability or dementia. There are still many areas in our Carers Policy action plan that we are working on, but the free parking is a really important step which we know is already proving popular.”
Diana Sibley, a carer who presented carers’ feedback after the scheme was first piloted, summed it up using a quote from the pilot feedback: “It really is a worthwhile scheme. Carers have enough worries without having the extra financial burdens of hospital parking. The therapeutic benefits for both patient and carer are inestimable. It has certainly indicated to my family, and indeed the general community, that Torbay means what it says – it cares for patients, carers and the community.”