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Hospitals named and shamed over car park provision

Watchdog lists the worst and best NHS car parks in England

OnMedica Staff

Wednesday, 09 June 2010

A consumer watchdog has named and shamed the worst NHS trusts for car parking in England.

Which? made 172 Freedom of Information Act requests, which brought 126 responses to examine whether patients were getting a fair deal when using hospital car parks.

The watchdog named the four worst car parks for clamping, fining, charging and complaints. These were: Epsom and St Helier University Hospital NHS Trust which clamped 1,671 cars in 2008-9 and made £1.9m profit from its car park, Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust's Leeds General Infirmary, whose 10,330 fines generated £142,000, Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust, which has the highest charge for two hours' parking – £4 and Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust's Royal Derby Hospital, which received the most complaints – 82.

The Royal United Hospital Bath was named the best NHS hospital car park in England and was praised for its large number of priority spaces, comprehensive variety of payment methods and excellent patient communication.

When Which? surveyed 1,001 members of the public, it found that 70% of people have experienced problems with an NHS hospital car park.

Which? also found that for 49% of NHS hospital visitors the hospital car park had made their visit more stressful.

Which? Chief Executive Peter Vicary-Smith said: "Visiting hospital is stressful enough without having to worry about being clamped or getting a ticket. Surely this is now the end of the road for the worst hospital car parks?"

The watchdog issued ten demands of hospitals including an end to unfair charges, ensuring enough spaces for patients and visitors, concessions for regular visitors, allowing patients to pay on departure, allowing card and cash payments, providing priority parking for those who need it, offering clear information on concessions, reimbursing patients for fees caused by appointment delays, an end to clamping and towing and a consultation on what patients and visitors want.

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