Scotland scraps NHS car park charges2nd January 2009
The majority of NHS hospitals in Scotland will not charge parking fees to patients, after new legislation came into force at the end of 2008.
The 14 health service hospitals which had imposed charges for using their car parks are now free to use.
Three hospitals - Dundee's Ninewells PFI hospital, Glasgow Royal Infirmary and Edinburgh's Royal Infirmary - will still charge tariffs for parking as they were constructed by a private company.
A Scottish government spokesman said "the long-term nature of those contracts precludes termination".
Nearly all Welsh hospitals do not charge parking fees, although most hospitals in England do apply fees.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said: "We do not think it is a sensible use of limited resources to subsidise car parking at hospitals for everyone."
"In England, hospital car parking charges are decided locally by individual trusts to cover the cost of running and maintaining a car park."
She added that trusts were expected to have schemes set up so that regular hospital visitors and patients could apply for exemptions and concessions.
The Macmillan Cancer Support charity has said hospitals in England should not charge parking tariffs to patients.
In a survey of 1,000 people by the charity, 90% of respondents said they thought patients receiving treatment for cancer should not be charged to park at a hospital.
A study showed that cancer patients spent an average of £325 on car parking at their hospital during their treatment.
The charity's chief executive Ciaran Devine said: "Put bluntly, hospital parking charges are a tax on illness."
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Title: Scotland scraps NHS car park charges
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 9693
Date Added: 2nd Jan 2009