All ambulances and medical vehicles contracted to work at Mater Dei Hospital are able to park in designated parking spaces with no fear of being clamped, a spokesperson for the hospital has said.
Responding to questions by Lovin Malta, the spokesperson categorically denied that any ambulances that were on call at the hospital had been clamped by parking officials.
The denial follows claims by the operator of a private ambulance service, who said that his ambulance had been clamped while at the hospital, resulting in it being unable to respond to a call for help.
Since the publication of the story other similar service providers have gotten in touch to say that they had experienced similar problems.
The spokesperson explained that people offering their own private services, and who have not been contracted by the hospital, are obliged to follow the same rule as anyone else dropping people off at the hospital.
“As far as the hospital is concerned they are private cars wrapped in ambulance colours,” they added.
This was confirmed by hospital sources who spoke with Lovin Malta, who said that there was very little regulation when it came to people offering their own private services.
Some, they said, were hospital staff, who had converted their car into an ambulance and who sometimes left their car parked in the hospital car park.
They questioned why private ambulances who were dropping off patients needed to park their ‘ambulance’ and enter the hospital with the patient they were dropping off.
Clamping the only way to fight abuse
A spokesperson for KIS Services, the company responsible for parking at the hospital, explained to Lovin Malta that all ambulances used by the hospital are parked in reserved spots.
They explained that there were roughly 2,000 spots reserved for the hospital’s staff, depending on the section they worked in.
He said that if employees park in spots reserved for another section of the hospital’s staff they are handed a warning or clamped. The same applied for members of the public who park in doctors’ or nurses’ spots, for example.
They said that ultimately, the company understood that nobody goes to the hospital for fun, and that people are often desperate to get in and see their loved ones. That said, there was also a significant amount of abuse of the system, including by staff.
“Clamping is our only option in most cases. We can’t allow people to park wherever they want because we end up having a lot of trouble with ambulances, buses and all sorts of problems,” they said.
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