A disabled couple who dedicated their lives to nursing were left furious when they received a hospital parking fine following a 999 emergency.
Margaret Abernerthy woke to find her husband Arthur, 84, having a seizure at their home in Toppings Street, Boldon Colliery.
The 79-year-old dialled for an ambulance and then followed her husband in their car to South Tyneside District Hospital in South Shields.
The mum-of-one, who has a blue badge, parked in a disabled parking bay during the ordeal on August 29 and stayed with her husband until around 9pm that night.
However, earlier this week Margaret, who trained as a nurse, along with her husband, at the Harton Lane site, received a £70 ParkingEye fine as she hadn’t registered her disabled badge.
But now hospital bosses have apologised for any upset and the fine has been cancelled.
All our working lives have been spent in hospitals.Margaret Abernethy
Steve Jamieson, director of estates and facilities at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust said: “We are very sorry to hear about the parking fine issued to Mrs Abernethy and apologise for any undue upset or worry caused. Blue badge holders are exempt from all car parking charges and the fine has now been cancelled.”
Margaret said: “I was furious to receive the fine. It was just after 6am when I parked in the disabled bay with my badge and naturally I was dashing to be with my husband, I was so worried.
“I didn’t realise you were supposed to register the badge, it wasn’t explained very clearly at all.
“I’m glad the fine has been cancelled because it’s not as if I went to the hospital for fun. It was an emergency.”
After her training, Margaret later went to work at the former Ingham Hospital, as did Arthur who was theatre nurse, before he became employed as a mental health worker at the old Cherry Knowle hospital in Sunderland.
Margaret said: “All our working lives have been spent in hospitals. To think we both trained in South Tyneside and we ended up with this.
“It’s bad enough having to go to hospital in the first place, but then for a fine to arrive a few weeks later is just horrible.”
Arthur is now back at home recovering - although medics are still unsure what caused his seizure.
Mr Jamieson is keen to remind disabled drivers to register their badges.
He added: “Our car park uses automatic number plate recognition technology and we would remind all blue badge holders that they do need to register with us so that our system can identify their vehicles when they arrive on site.”
To register a blue badge call 404 1094, email firstname.lastname@example.org or speak with reception staff in Ingham Wing.
Once a blue badge is registered with us this means a vehicle will automatically be covered for parking at both South Tyneside and Sunderland hospitals without the need to re-register.