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Parking charges at hospitals rise by 10%

Charging patients, visitors and staff for car parking brought in £254m for hospitals last year

Ingrid Torjesen

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Hospitals trusts in England made more than £254m from car parking charges last year, and a further £1.5m from parking fines, show data collected by the Press Association using Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and from the NHS Digital Estates Return Information Collection database (ERIC).

Hospital income from car parking charges increased by 10% over the last year, and a third of the trusts who responded to the FOI request had increased their charges over that period.

Prices charged to patients and visitors by hospitals vary significantly, £1 to £4 an hour. The most expensive hospitals to park at were North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust (£4 per hour), the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital NHS Foundation (£3.80 per hour) and Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust (£3.60 per hour). The cheapest were Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust, Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust and St Helens and Knowsley Hospitals NHS Trust which all charged £1 per hour.

Half of the trusts charged for disabled parking, and NHS staff contribute £65m of the car parking total income.

Labour’s general election manifesto says that it “will provide free hospital parking for patients, staff and visitors,” and the Conservatives have said they will make parking free “for those in greatest need, including disabled people, frequent outpatient attenders, parents of sick children staying overnight and staff working night shifts”.

A survey by consumer association Which? of 7,883 of its members found that parking issues added to the stress of hospital visits 86% of patients and other visitors, with difficulties finding a space, confusing parking rules and problems paying cited as issues. Half (49%) of respondents thought hospital parking should be free.

In Scotland and Wales, hospital parking is free, and many hospitals in Northern Ireland also don’t charge.

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