THE UL Hospitals Group has apologised after a man in his 80s struggled to access disabled parking at University Hospital Limerick after large shipping containers took up two of the 12 spaces last week.
The man, who did not wish to be named, told the Limerick Leader that he had recently found it difficult to access disabled parking since he started attending weekly clinics at the Dooradoyle hospital.
He said that he was forced to leave his home at 6.30am in order to secure parking, and that he was unable to walk long distances due to blood pressure problems and arthritis.
Even though he was able to secure the last parking spot by 8.15am last week, he said that he was “disgusted” to see that other people with disabilities or mobility issues would not have had access because of the shipping containers.
The elderly man explained that he might be forced to get a taxi to UHL in the future, which he said would cost him around €60. He added that he felt there was “insufficient” parking spaces at the hospital for people with disabilities.
A UL Hospitals Group spokesperson said that the shipping containers were temporarily placed in the car park to allow for storage equipment for an in-patient ward upgrade, as part of a refurbishment programme.
“The full complement of disabled car parking spaces will be restored in the coming days when the containers are relocated,” said the spokesperson.
“The UL Hospitals Group recognises the importance of providing adequate parking for disabled visitors and patients to UHL and the number of spaces available exceeds current guidelines.
“Should drivers be unable to find suitable disabled parking spaces on site, the team at Europarks, our car park partner will allow access for the driver to the main car parks free of charge.”
The spokesperson said the hospital apologised “for any inconvenience the temporary reduction of disabled car parking spaces in UHL may have caused”.