The manager of a care home provider from Ealing has called for patients to be given permanent multi-vehicle permits for carer visits.
Catherine Gunnewicht, manager of Care Concern, based in Chsiwick with clients in Ealing, said the one-vehicle restriction on professional carers parking permits issued by Ealing Council is causing patient unrest.
The council issues the permits for £45, enabling carers to park in controlled parking zones (CPZ's) for up to two hours, and can apply for the provision of multiple cars if medical evidence is provided.
But Mrs Gunnewicht said elderly patients, who often require more than one vehicle, find it difficult to apply for the multi-vehicle use due to ill-health, adding the two-hour limit is insufficient in all-day parking zones.
She wants the permits to include the use of multiple vehicles when visiting without the need for medical evidence, but the council say this is not possible because of the likelihood of fraud and abuse.
The Hanwell resident, who has lived in Ealing for 18 years, added: "Elderly people may be slow, may be feeling unwell, may need a doctor calling and the carer cannot be worrying about the parking voucher expiring and being stung for a fine.
"Added to this is the worry for the care worker of 'going over your time' and getting a parking ticket.
"We had a case a year or so ago of a care worker, who got a ticket because she had overstayed on the pay and display.
"The reason for this was that the elderly lady had fallen on the floor and the carer had to call an ambulance for her and was delayed returning to her car."
She also referenced a case in which an elderly patient, with dementia, was too unwell to apply so his nephew had to do it for him.
Risk of theft, duplication and fraud
A council spokesperson said the council consulted widely with carers before introducing permits in April 2014 and the feedback so far has been very positive.
She added that the vast majority of CPZ's operate for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening, making the two hour limit sufficient.
The spokesperson said: "We value the work that carers do and these permits have been carefully designed to balance the needs of residents living in CPZ's who pay to park near their homes with the needs of residents that require care and support.
"Residents who live in all-day CPZs also have the option of using visitor vouchers if they are expecting a longer visit.
"All of our council-issued parking permits are associated with vehicles, not drivers, to remove the possibility of theft, duplication and fraud.
"For carers who need to make a long visit in one of our few all-day CPZ, we suggest that they either ask the client to provide visitor vouchers, park outside of the CPZ or use public transport. "
A client of Care Concern, who cannot be named for confidentiality reasons, said: "I'm sure the permits would not be abused, and would be a very cost effective way of helping reduce costs to Ealing Social Services by maintaining people in their own homes rather than requiring residential home or hospital care."