FIGHTS and arguments are breaking out due to parking problems at Colchester Hospital, it has been claimed.

A new system was implemented at the hospital in the autumn, however, it has been blighted with teething problems.

Long queues have been forming at both the parking machines and the throughout the car park, causing increasing frustration for patients.

READ MORE: Extra parking machines set for Colchester Hospital

David Murdoch and his partner, Elizabeth Willett, visited the hospital on Tuesday for a scan at the hospital’s maternity department.

Mr Murdoch, who lives in Harwich, said it took them more than an hour to find a space and another 40 minutes to pay after the appointment.

He said: “Our appointment itself was quick and we would probably have qualified for the half an hour free parking or had to pay for an hour but it is impossible at the moment.

“Because the car park was so gridlocked people were stealing spaces people were waiting for. It was like something from a comedy sketch.

“There was a lot of toing and froing and some choice language was being thrown around. When we came to pay it was like a scrum and there were a lot of people getting annoyed and frustrated.

“Everyone is running late and can’t get a space, some people are so stressed, they even break out in fights in the car park.

“There are lots of elderly patients who go to the hospital and they are having to deal with this on top of the stress of going there.”

READ MORE: Colchester Hospital bosses sorry for parking mix-ups

A spokesman for Colchester Hospital said security and parking staff had not been made aware of any fights in the car park.

Head of facilities Fiona Sparrow said: “We are aware there were long queues to pay for parking on Tuesday and apologise to patients, visitors and staff for any frustration and inconvenience caused.

"This was partly due to one of the car parking payment machines being out of order.

“We’re pleased to say two more car parking payment machines are now up and running, bringing the total number on the site to five and we can confirm the issue with the broken payment machine has now been repaired.

“We appreciate introducing the new parking system at Colchester Hospital has been difficult and we’re committed to putting the problems right.

“We hope the action we’re taking will alleviate some of the issues we’ve had and the process will become much easier for all.”