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Trust issued 18,000 parking fines

More than 18,600 parking penalties were issued by three hospitals during 2010, according to consumer group Which?

Research revealed that the University Hospitals Birmingham trust - which runs three hospitals - issued 18,651 fines in the 12-month period, the equivalent of 51 per day. Leeds Teaching Hospitals, the second-worst offender, handed out 9,008 tickets.

The coalition Westminster government overturned a Labour pledge to ban the charges, claiming that such a move would not be practical. The fees were scrapped in Scotland three years ago while they will come to an end in Wales later this year.

Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: “Our research shows if hospitals are going to develop patient-focused policies for the future, car parking certainly needs to be on the agenda.”

Jo Webber, deputy director of policy at the NHS Confederation, said: “This report from Which? makes some perfectly sensible points about how NHS organisations could improve the way they provide car parking at their sites.

“It is important that patients or visitors who chose to use their cars to attend hospital understand how the system works, how to pay and are aware of any exemptions they might benefit from.

“In our own report on the issue Fair for all, not Free for all, the NHS Confederation argued that charging for parking was an important way of ensuring that hospital spaces were not being abused as well as covering the costs of running car parks, but also made the case for easily understood, convenient and fairly enforced car parking at NHS sites.

“We have also said our members should look at the kinds of concessions they offer for people who have long-term conditions or to the parents of sick children.

“Ultimately, anything which can improve the public’s experience of the NHS is to be welcomed and getting parking right most certainly can contribute to that.

“But it does need to be remembered that NHS organisations will have transport plans, which include buses, the ambulance service, cycling and walking to the site - the most important thing is to get the balance right between different forms of transport so that everyone can access NHS services in as convenient and hassle-free way as possible.”

 

Readers' comments (6)

  • Using public transport is NOT a viable alternative in rural areas. My nearest acute hospital (small DGH) is 35 miles away, for more specialised care we are looking at a round trip of 150 miles. Rural populations already pay through the nose in fuel costs without having to pay for parking. I personally think that frustration about car parking contributes greatly to the abuse front-line staff experience from patients and it's time car parking charges are scrapped altogether.

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  • I appreciate your point, anonymous, but I think it is more complex than no charges. My hospital is very close to a station and when there were no charges the car park was full of communters. Also some staff will park in patient areas if it is free, leaving staff parking areas the patients can't park in empty.
    A better solution would be charges in place, but a permit for free parking sent out with appointments with the date & time of the appointment on it.

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  • It would be nice to see free parking at hospitals as we, the general public, do not go to hospital for "fun". I am a student nurse wh has to use the car to get to placement as I live for from the hospial I have been placed at. If not free parking it would be nice to have a reduced rate to park as I am currently spending £40 a week to park.

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  • depending on area and proximity to shops, offices, railway station etc. where everbody seems to think they can use a hospital car park, would it work if all entitled car park users had permits subject to status with different tarifs including some free according to need and purpose? Charge hefty fines for those such as shoppers and commuters or others who abuse the parking for non-hospital business to help subsidise cheaper and free permits for those who really need them such as patients, visitors and lower paid staff? For staff maybe charge according to salary scale? Could a parking permit for staff be an optional part of the salary benefits package for those who need a space and according to the hours they work?
    is it cheaper to have a fully automated service or pay a car park attendant?
    some sort of cost effective and flexible system is needed.
    Do you have the same notices for handicapped parking spaces as in Europe which say 'take my parking space, take my handicap!'? I think this is clever but whether it will prick the consciousness of those who would take these spaces anyway, I do not know. It is like the health warnings on cigarette packets for those who smoke!

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  • I went for an out patient appointment recently, however, the doctor failed to attend and we were sent home. Rightly or wrongly, I asked for a refund for my parking ticket, at £2.00 per hour. It wasn't the two pounds but the principle. Staff looked at me as if I had two heads but someone appeared with £2.00. I did wonder if it came out of someones purse and that possibility made me feel a bit uncomfortable, but I felt it was a point worth making - was I right or wrong?

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  • Parking is Great if you can find somewhere to park. One of my local Hospitals has such a lack of space, if you do not get there before 8.30 no luck parking, and that is for staff to. When i worked there i often left home somewhat earlier and parked in one of the side roads further away as i had no where to park and neare the hospital and town centre to pay through your nose for parking.

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