A NURSE who rushed to a pharmacy to get pain relief medication for a dying patient has been fined for leaving her car in the town centre for just three minutes.
Irate nurse Linda Irwin said she tried to explain her predicament to a Cornwall Council civil enforcement officer, but he wasn't interested and booked her, handing out a £70 parking ticket.
Mrs Irwin, who lives in St Mabyn, said she would be appealing against the fine, and if it was overturned she would be donating the £70 to charity.
Mrs Irwin admitted she shouldn't have parked her Smart car on the taxi rank outside Boots the Chemist in Wadebridge, but said there were no taxis stationed on the rank at the time and her car was there for only a matter of minutes on Saturday.
She said: "Saturday was actually my day off, but I agreed to pick up the medication and take it to the nursing home.
"I explained to the civil enforcement officer that I was at the chemist's to collect emergency, end-of-life medication for a patient, but he simply wasn't interested. I remonstrated with him, and asked for his name, but he became quite unpleasant and was extremely overbearing, insisting on taking a photograph of me.
"I know I shouldn't have parked in the taxi rank, but it was an emergency and on the ticket I received it showed I was parked there for just three minutes.
"Yes, I was wrong to park in a taxi bay, I appreciate that. But for me, it's not about the £70 fine, its the principle of receiving a ticket in those sort of circumstances.
"I have appealed against the parking fine, and if I succeed, I will donate the money to Cancer Research UK,'' said Mrs Irwin.
Cornwall Council said while it would expect health providers to park legally and safely wherever possible, it recognised that there may be times when nurses or other NHS staff have to park in restricted areas. It said it had worked with healthcare providers to develop a scheme for such occasions.
A spokesperson said: "While penalty charges will be issued if a health provider contravenes parking restrictions, under the scheme the individual is asked to request a senior manager to sign a form stating that they were "legitimately" parked. This would then lead to the penalty charge being dismissed."
Alternatively, an appeal could be made in the normal way.
She added: "All Cornwall Council staff are required to treat the public with dignity and respect."