Royal Berkshire Hospital has apologised to a cancer patient and family after they were handed two parking tickets despite having a blue badge permit.

Elizabeth Lear is a regular visitor to the hospital’s cancer and radiography centre whilst visiting with her husband who is undergoing treatment.

However, the 74 year old was left 'astonished' after being handed two parking tickets from APCOA Parking for using the disabled bays in the North Block car park just off London Road - despite displaying a valid blue badge.

Royal Berkshire Hospital (RBH) uses APCOA Parking to monitor its car parks. APCOA Parking use camera recognition to monitor cars going in and out, to manage the operations across the site.

APCOA issued Mrs Lear with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) on February 6 for the ‘use of a private car park without a valid payment/permit'.

The Berkshire resident, who also attends the hospital once every two months as a patient herself, said: “I’m just astonished. It’s hard enough to find a disabled bay at the RBH on a good day but to get a ticket despite having a pass is ridiculous.

“There must be other people who have had this happen to them especially when the signs posted are so unclear and vague.”

After making enquiries about the ticket, Mr Lear was told by officials that when using a blue disabled badge at the hospital it is now a requirement to register the permit with one of the reception desks around the building.

The couple claimed this is unclear when parking at the hospital and is ‘unrealistic’, particularly for patients and family members visiting the cancer centre.

“When I’m visiting RBH I have to transport my husband and his wheelchair to the centre by the North Block and I simply don’t have the energy to walk around the hospital to register at reception,” she said.

Adding: “It seems unrealistic and unnecessary.”

A spokesperson from Royal Berkshire Hospital said: “We’d like to apologise to the patient who has now had their PCNs cancelled, and this incident highlights our need as a trust to do more to communicate parking options available to patients."

A statement from APCOA parking added: "In addition to registration on the APCOA online portal, blue badge holders can register their vehicle at any one of the four manned desks within the North Block  – these are located in King Edward, Huntley & Palmer, Berkshire Cancer Centre and Radiotherapy.

“APCOA manages car parking on behalf of The Royal Berkshire and both organisations take a fair and pragmatic approach to enforcement. Our records show that the customer has now registered her blue badge and our customer services team have cancelled the two PCN’s as a gesture of goodwill.

“Customers may find it helpful to know that the North Block car park uses APCOA LatePay  in conjunction with the Automatic Number Plate recognition technology (ANPR), allowing customers up to 72 hours to pay for their parking or register their exemption before a PCN is issued."