Nurses and doctors face losing their homes after being ordered to pay £12.8million in fines for parking at the NHS hospital where they work.
Staff at University Hospital of Wales face having to sell their homes after losing a legal fight over the unpaid tickets.
One nurse owes £150,000 in outstanding fines after a court ruled £128 must be paid for every unpaid ticket, plus £26,000 in court fees.
Staff at University Hospital of Wales face having to sell their homes after losing a legal fight (file picture)
More than 100,000 unpaid tickets have been racked up, meaning staff owe £12.8million to car park owners Indigo.
The hospital has 6,000 staff but the car park has only 1,800 spaces, so many have to park in spots reserved for visitors. Staff, some of whom earn just £15,100, decided they would veto payment of any fines in protest at the lack of spaces.
Indigo launched a test case and District Judge Clare Coates sided with the firm at Cardiff County Court on Friday.
Campaigner Sue Prior criticised the health board, saying: 'This ruling is devastating for doctors and nurses across the country.
'They have permitted a private parking company to do this. There is no common sense anywhere.
'At the moment we just need to sit back and assess what we are going to do because it costs money to appeal. It was like David and Goliath - and David lost.'
Campaigner Sue Prior said the ruling is 'devastating' for doctors and nurses
'The case was a three-day trial in the small claims court, consisting of three lead cases but the result was binding on 72 others, meaning everyone must now pay up.
The Subset is worth £39,000, but but top of that they have been ordered to stump up £29,000 in court costs - an average bill of more than £900 for each doctor and nurse affected.
Ms Prior added: 'They have got to pay or they end up with county court Judgements.
'The cost per ticket is £128 so what they have to pay depends on how many tickets they have.'
It is now feared other members of staff could face further civil action over other outstanding unpaid parking tickets.
'We have had people going in and handing their notice in,' Ms Prior said.
'The judge made them all worth £128 a ticket and all enforceable. The money machine has started.'
One nurse, who wished to remain anonymous, said: 'We heard yesterday we are now personally accountable for thousands of pounds of hiked up car parking fees for a car park where the majority can't even get a permit to park.
'Personally, I am a nurse and a single parent. I had to move back to live with my parents due to financial difficulties. I already have hefty debt and am in a debt management scheme, but this is the final nail in the coffin.
'How are we supposed to do our jobs properly if we are constantly worrying about these extortionate car parking fees? I have no idea how I will pay the costs and am distressed beyond belief.'
A children's nurse, who owes £2,000 said: 'This would never have come up if they provided proper parking. The wardens are totally ruthless … the last thing NHS staff need, particularly with the cap on our pay.'
A spokesman for Indigo said: 'In April last year, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Indigo agreed a new set of measures to improve car parking on the UHW site.
'As a gesture of goodwill towards car park users, parking charge notices issued up to the end of March 2016 were cancelled.
'In addition, the cost of a Parking Charge Notice was reduced to £10, if paid within 14 days. Despite this, a number of people refused to pay for parking at the site. They also ignored the resulting PCNs and declined to use the formal appeals process.'
The spokesman said the court hearing related to three individuals who had in excess of 100 PCNs between them since April 2016.
'As the company responsible for managing parking and ensuring the free flow of traffic at Cardiff UHW, we have an obligation to ensure enforcement of parking restrictions,' the spokeswoman said.
'For this reason, and with the full support of the health board, we took the strongest possible action against this small group of persistent offenders.
'The court's ruling has justified our decision to take this action and we hope this sends a clear message to users of the car parks at Cardiff UHW that they follow the terms and conditions for parking.'
More than 100,000 unpaid tickets have been racked up at the hospital (file picture)
Cardiff and Vale University Health Board said it was 'disappointing' a small number of staff refused to co-operate with parking rules.
A spokesman said: 'All staff and others visiting UHW are encouraged to comply with the parking regulations in order for us to keep the site, safe, free-flowing and allow access to emergency vehicles and vital health services.'
On a Facebook page set up by staff, one nurse wrote: 'We are probably going to have to sell our family home. I have decided to leave the NHS. I cannot continue working for someone who doesn't support their employees.'
A spokesman for Indigo, which had a £24million turnover last year, told Wales Online the hearing related to three individuals with more than 100 parking notices between them since April 2016.
The spokesman added: 'We have an obligation to ensure enforcement of parking restrictions … we took the strongest possible action against this small group of persistent offenders. The court's ruling has justified our decision.'