Criticism as parking fees at NHS hospitals increase16th March 2012
New figures have revealed that car parking charges for patients and visitors have risen at more than a quarter of hospital trusts in England over the last year.
Data from 197 hospital and mental health trusts revealed in some cases that charges have more than doubled.
There have been reductions too but the Patients Association branded the charges in England as a “tax on the sick” while parking remains free in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The figures provided to the NHS Information Centre were analysed by data company SSentif and show 28% increased car parking charges between 2010 and 2011, with only 16% reducing them.
United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust raised charges by 112% from an average of 67p an hour to £1.42, while North West London Hospitals NHS Trust charged on average £1.58, up 81% from 88p.
Prices at Stockport NHS Foundation Trust and London's Royal Marsden cancer hospital doubled to an average of £1 an hour, while they tripled to 75p an hour at Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.
Cheapest charges were generally in the south west while higher fees were levied in London and south-east England.
Patients Association chief executive Katherine Murphy said patients could ill afford such fees and added: “Hospitals should be properly supported by the government and should not have to rely on charging patients and visitors to park to make ends meet.”
Health Minister Simon Burns said parking policies were a local issue and warned that introducing free hospital car parking could cost the NHS more than £100m.
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Title: Criticism as parking fees at NHS hospitals increase
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 21408
Date Added: 16th Mar 2012