THE husband of a disabled woman has hit out at "selfish" drivers who clog up vital disabled parking bays at Basildon Hospital.
Ken Keeping, of Tinklerside, Basildon, has to take his disabled wife Lynda, 62, to the hospital at least twice a week, but says he can hardly ever get a space.
The 64-year-old claims the problem is down to lazy able-bodied drivers hogging spaces created for disabled people.
He said: "It's getting crazy there. You can never get a space.
"My wife has a heart condition, and she also has to use a walking stick. It takes ages to get her inside.
"We need to be as close as possible for practicality's sake.
"Several times lately I've even had to get her out of the car, run in an ask someone to help her to a chair, while I drive round looking for a space." Mr Keeping prefers to park in a disabled space close to the hospital, near the outpatient block, because the disabled slots in the multi-storey car park are too far away for his wife.
He claims to have seen taxi drivers and able-bodied men and women of all ages abusing the system and parking in the disabled bays.
Mr Keeping said: "It seems to have got a lot worse lately.
"But if you challenge them and ask them to move, you just get a mouthful of abuse. People can be so rude.
"They don't realise that when you are disabled you rely on that space. I want to see someone patrolling the disabled parking areas and giving tickets to people flouting the rules."
Simon Myles, estates manager for Basildon Hospital, said: "We apologise to Mr Keeping for any inconvenience caused.
"We have 76 disabled spaces across the site and work is under way to increase this to over 120 in the next few weeks.
"We can, and do, issue parking tickets to those who park in a blue bay without displaying a badge. If Mr Keeping would like to discuss this further, I would be happy to speak with him directly."