Devon carer's anger at Torbay Hospital parking

image captionThe hospital apologised to Jan Holmes

A widow has criticised a Devon hospital's shortage of parking spaces which left her struggling to care for her sick husband before he died.

Jan Holmes, from Brixham in Devon, said there were "hardly ever" any parking spaces when she and her husband arrived for appointments at Torbay Hospital.

The problems continued over a period of 18 months before her diabetic husband Dave died in January 2009, aged 57.

The hospital trust said access to on-site parking was a priority.

Mr Holmes had a number of medical conditions associated with his diabetes which affected his heart, kidneys, liver and skin.

He was also unable to walk long distances which meant that finding a space in the disabled parking bay near the entrance was crucial.

Mrs Holmes said she had to take him for treatment at the hospital up to three times a week.

She said: "There was hardly ever anywhere to park, either in the disabled bays or anywhere else.

"In practice this meant that I had to stop in an unauthorised zone, drop him off at an entrance, run in, find a chair, abandon him and run off to try and park.

"It was very, very stressful and degrading for him.

"I still try to avoid it all costs."

'Very distressed'

Torbay Hospital's parking came out just below half way down in a survey of 126 English hospitals by watchdog Which?

Which? rated hospitals against criteria based on capacity, convenience of payment methods, frequency and type of penalties, charging structure and profits, and communication with patients.

Paul Mears, chief operating officer for South Devon Healthcare, which runs Torbay Hospital, said: "We are very distressed to hear about the poor experience she received at a very upsetting time for her.

"We would like to apologise very sincerely to her for the difficulty she had."

The hospital, which has about 1,300 car parking spaces, had moved staff parking away from the main buildings to increase spaces.

Out of Devon's other main hospitals, North Devon District Hospital was second best in the Which? report. The Royal Devon & Exeter was just out of the top 10, and Derriford Hospital in Plymouth came out just below half way down.

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