Patients and staff ‘fleeced’ by extortionate hospital parking feesRuth Mabhiza
Patients and staff ‘fleeced’ by extortionate hospital parking fees
Hospital parking in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales is largely free.
A third of England’s hospitals increase their parking fees last year.
A recent paper published by the Press Agency shows that a third of hospitals have increased their parking charges in the past year, leading to an increase in total income of 10%.
Using a Freedom the Information Act, the PA news agency contacted 140 NHS Trusts, with the responses showing £254m had been raised in 2018/2019 – up from £232m in the previous year.
The PA also carried out a survey of 7,886 patients and visitors, it showed that 86% of patients found parking added to the stress of their hospital visits. Around a third (32%) struggling to find a space and 10% adding there is a lack of disabled provision. Other common complaints included long queues and meters that did not work.
Hospital parking in Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales is largely free.
Some respondents described the fees as a “rip-off”, “extortionate” and “astronomical”. Yet people were split over whether charges should be scrapped or not.
Charged for being ill.
A spokeswoman for the Patients Association said; “Charges for car parking at hospitals are a charge on people who are unwell, levied on them because they are unwell. We believe that patients should not be effectively charged for being ill.
“Practical arrangements to prevent car parks being used by other motorists can and should be installed, as they are at supermarkets, hotels and so on.”
The Conservative Party manifesto pledged to introduce free parking for night shift workers and patients with the greatest need, including disabled people, parents of sick children staying overnight and those regularly needing appointments.
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis responded to this research, saying; “Ratcheting up parking charges isn’t how cash-strapped NHS trusts should be tackling their funding problems.
“But if the government had put more money into the health service, charges could’ve been scrapped. No nurse, porter or other NHS employee should be fleeced simply for going to work.”
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