£1.8m profit in hospital parking fees9th June 2010
NHS hospitals are making significant profits from car parking.
New figures show they are making millions of pounds a year from charging patients and their families to use their car parks, and from clamping and issuing fines.
Rules allow hospitals in England to decide how much they want to charge for parking.
Overall, profits are in the region of more than £100m a year.
A study of 126 NHS trusts and hospitals in England by consumer group Which? found Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust in Surrey made the most money from its car park, making £1.85m in 2008/09 and clamping 1,671 vehicles.
Leeds General Infirmary (part of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust) issued 10,330 fines, generating £142,000 while Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals NHS Trust in Hertfordshire had the highest minimum charge – £4 for two hours of parking.
Meanwhile, hospital car parking is free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Previous health secretary Andy Burnham had pledged to scrap hospital car parking charges for inpatients and their visitors within three years, but the coalition government has no current plans to carry that through.
Which? named the Royal United Hospital Bath the best NHS hospital car park in England for offering patients a large number of priority spaces and a choice of payment methods.
Which?'s 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?"
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Title: £1.8m profit in hospital parking fees
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 15087
Date Added: 9th Jun 2010