Hospital Parking.   Warranty
Transport   Mobile Phones
Wightlink   Blue Badge
Sitting Service      

A form is available in the Stroke Unit of St Mary's Hospital on the Island (and no doubt other wards) for cases where a patient is hospitalised for more than 14 days which enables their visitors to apply for free parking. The permit when issued allows for regular or frequent visitors (4 or more times a week) to pay for the first week at normal rates, on the second week the charge is £1.50 per day and for the next two weeks parking is free. I actually found that I was given four weeks on the final part but in any case the free portion is renewable when it runs out. Ask the Ward Clerk or Ward Sister for the application form. The permit can only be used on one vehicle and is not transferable.


Optio, the Island's voluntary car scheme, provides a life line to many elderly, frail and housebound residents by co-ordinating their safe transportation from home to medical appointments, memory clubs, day centres or perhaps enabling them to visit a friend or loved one.

The Isle of Wight Rural Community Council has re-launched Optio, as a membership scheme from 1st September 2010. Members will pay an annual fee of just £20 in addition to a 40p per mile charge to cover the petrol and car maintenance costs of the driver. Household membership and six month memberships are also available.

This crucial service is reliant upon the good will of voluntary drivers who give their time and use their own cars to transport members of the scheme. There are currently more than 50 voluntary drivers who last year helped 1,500 Island residents to make over 15,000 trips.
There is an annual or 6 monthly membership fee:
    • £20 per person per year or £30 per household couple
    • £12 per person per 6 months or £18 per household couple
    •There is a driver's mileage charge of 40p per mile, paid directly to the volunteer driver, who will provide you with a receipt for the cost of the trip
    •A minimum charge of £2.50 per trip. (e.g. journey under 6 miles)
    •Mileage costs are calculated from the driver's home and return, not from the user's address
    •There is no additional cost if you are accompanied by a carer or a friend
    •Drivers cannot accept tips or gifts
Other costs may apply for trips to the mainland and for trips which start before 7am and finish after 6pm.
Full information about membership can be obtained from Optio - Telephone 522 226.
If you have an urgent need for transport and have not joined Optio, you can call them and join retrospectively.


Wightlink Healthcare Discount Scheme

Wightlink offers a comprehensive scheme for Island Residents needing to travel to the mainland for an NHS funded hospital appointment. When travelling, contact Wightlink to see what discount they can apply to the following public tariffs:

Saver . . . . . . . .Super Saver . . . . . .. . IW Resident fares . . . . . . .Foot passengers

To check this rate in advance please quote "Wightlink Healthcare Discount" when making your booking by telephone on 0871 376 1000. You will be required to complete the necessary form and present your appointment card/letter referring to your appointment to collect your ticket on the day of travel and on request of a Wightlink ticket inspector. Tickets can also be purchased at the time of travel on presentation of your appointment card/letter the ticket office, subject to availability (the necessary form will also need to be completed on arrival).

Last contact with Wightlink confirmed the following scheme was still in operation, but no doubt it's a concession that can be withdrawn. Please contact Wightlink to ensure the scheme is still in operation and to obtain full details. Telephoning may be the best method as the scheme may not be on Wightlink website.


Sitting Service

The sitting Service is provided by The Isle of Wight Council and is available to carers on the Island. Carers need to have an assessment from Social Services and for this you will need to telephone the Adult Duty Team on 823340. It would also be wise to confirm with your surgery that both you and your cared-for person are cross referenced on the surgery database as having this relationship.

The service enables you to have two hours per week when a sitter will be made available for you and if you do not use the service on a weekly basis your time can be built up so as to enable you to vist the mainland for hospital appointments etc. The number contact for more details is:- 822200 (Island Carers Support).


Blue Badge

It seems that most blue badge holders are abusing the system from time to time. In several mainland towns there has been a clampdown on the use of blue badges. If someone is found to be abusing the system they can be subject to a substantial fine and have the badge confiscated. Council officials in Leeds are accompanying traffic wardens, as wardens don't have the power to take away the badge but council employees do. If your badge is taken away there is no appeal and no chance of obtaining another.

If you are in doubt about the correct use, read the blue book supplied with the badge. I have recently heard of a driver being fined £70 because he parked on a coaches only bay to attend to a medical emergency. There were no coaches in sight, but it was a breach of the rules.

A common mistake is parking using the blue badge whilst the able-bodied person just pops to a shop. This could result in a fine. The badge is to enable the holder access - not their carer. If you haven't still got the blue book of rules, borrow one or ask the council if they will issue you another. The blue badge is too valuable to lose for a silly slip up.



Most mobile calls to the Department of Work and Pensions re benefit claims are free. The national number for Benefit Claims is 08000 55 66 88 and applies to the following phone companies:
         O2 - Orange - Tesco Mobile - Vodafone - T-Mobile - Virgin Mobile

Together, the six companies with whom the DWP has signed agreements cover over 90 per cent of the UK’s mobile market. Calls to claim benefits and state pension use 0800 numbers, and are already free to customers using BT land lines. Apparently, 12 per cent of UK households use only mobile phones.


There is a little known EU Directive that states that electrical items etc within the EU must have a 2 year warranty. It is; EU directive 1999/44/EC.


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