A CORONAVIRUS vaccine priority patient was “astounded” to be hit with a parking fine following his jab at Colchester Hospital.

James Chable, from Elmstead Market, and his wife Lianne, drove to the hospital, in Turner Road, on February 13 for their Covid-19 vaccinations.

The 60-year-old said they followed directions to the free Covid-19 vaccination parking area, parked near the vaccination hub, and went inside for their jabs.

After their vaccinations the couple sat in their car for 15 minutes - as instructed by health workers - before driving back home.

Patients who drive for their jabs are told to remain in their vehicle for 15 minutes in case of any adverse effects.

But five days later, the couple received a £70 parking fine in the post.

Mr Chable said: “I was astounded, my thoughts were the Government is encouraging people to get vaccinated but they failed to mention possible costs to the individual, I then worried about paying.

“After spending about an hour trying to contact Car Parking Partnership, I telephoned the hospital and eventually got through to a nice lady at the Covid-19 hub who informed me that anyone having a vaccination does not pay for parking, she took my details and cancelled the fine.”

Following the cancellation, he said he wanted to make others away of the issue which “could be costly” to anyone who has booked a Covid vaccination.

He added: “Fortunately for me I was persistent and managed to rectify the error.

“But I wouldn’t want anyone else being in this situation, especially the elderly and vulnerable who would pay the fine out of worry.”

A parking fine was also recently handed to a key worker and her husband after she received her vaccination at the hospital.

Read more >>> Jason Lacey, from Layer-de-la-Haye, complained to Car Parking Partnership after automatic number plate recognition cameras snapped his vehicle leaving Colchester Hospital.

His wife, who works as a physiotherapist, was driving his car to her vaccination appointment.

As a key worker she was one of the first to get the jab and was entitled to free parking.

But a £35 parking fine was later delivered to the couple’s home, with the threat of a £70 penalty if Mr Lacey did not pay up.

Car Parking Partnership did eventually cancel the charge.

Fiona Sparrow is Associate Director of Facilities at East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Colchester Hospital.

She said: “We’re sorry to hear this happened.

“Since the Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination programme began at ESNEFT we have improved our process of recording the vehicles of patients attending their vaccine appointments.

“All we need to know is the registration number of the car they will be driving on the day and we can make sure fines are not received.

“If anyone believes they have been fined in error, we’d ask them to contact us directly and we will investigate further.

“The Trust has an appeal process in place for anyone who believes they have been unfairly fined – just send an email to travel.plan@esneft.nhs.uk and the team will be able to help."