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Hunt concerned some hospital parking fees are 'just too high'

Jeremy Hunt has insisted he will hold talks on hospital car parking charges, amid pressure to end the “rip-off” of high fees.

The health secretary told MPs in the Commons that parking costs at some hospitals “are just too high”, adding he is happy to look at what can be done on the issue.

Robert Halfon, Conservative MP for Harlow, had told Mr Hunt that nurses are paying an extra £200 a month and patients an extra £40 a week due to “ever-increasing” charges.

“Excessive hospital parking charges can be a ‘Samaritan tax’ on hard-working nurses”

Edmund King

Mr Hunt replied: “I do share your concerns that the car parking charges in some hospitals are just too high.

“I understand hospitals have financial pressures, as do many parts of the system, but I am happy to talk to you at another stage about what specifically can be done on this issue,” he said.

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt

Mr Halfon had asked Mr Hunt: “Are you aware that nurses are paying an extra £200 a month and patients an extra £40 a week for ever-increasing hospital car parking charges?

“Will you look at this problem, will you meet with me and do everything you can to end the great hospital car parking rip-off?”

Edmund King, president of the Automobile Association, said: “Excessive hospital parking charges can be a ‘Samaritan tax’ on hard-working nurses who often need to drive due to early and late shifts and a ‘sick tax’ for out-patients needing constant treatment.

“Most patients in hospitals in Scotland and Wales get free parking, while most English hospitals charge a small fortune, he said.

He added: “We have previously called for an inquiry into hospital parking charges in England. Of course we need to manage parking spaces in hospitals in urban areas.

“However, for cancer sufferers undergoing chemotherapy on a day-patient basis, the costs soon add up,” said Mr King.

“Many patients are advised not to use public transport due to threat of infection and yet get left with hefty parking charges they can ill afford.”

As previously reported by Nursing Times, more than 17,400 people have signed a petition set up by a healthcare assistant calling for free parking for NHS staff.

The e-petition demands immediate action to end “disgraceful” parking charges for NHS workers and nurses in particular.

Readers' comments (6)

  • Our chemo patients have a permit displayed in the windscreen and pay £1.50 a day. Nurses arriving after 07.30 are expected to use the park and ride which is at least an extra 25-30 mins on top of their journey and since we became a foundation trust do not have to pay for the "privilege" Car parking for patients is a nightmare since the hospital sold off land to a university. Queuing is seen most days and is so upsetting for any patient who has an appointment to keep

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  • Sadly, car parking never comes free- there are always overhead costs. However, until the government appropriately uses tax payers' money to fund hospital activity, hospitals will be forced to use car parking to generate income.

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  • Car parking used to be free, for staff and patients. These things come into being and with new staff coming into post and with new public and patients it becomes the norm. For those that went through the progression of change, it is like going through the bereavement process, ending up with acceptance. However, his doesn't make it right.

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  • The right price for hospital staff is zero

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  • Our hospital charges in the region of £1/ hour or £3:50 / day for public parking. Staff pay £7/week which isn't too bad trouble is you aren't guaranteed a space so you have to pay for public parking. Can't think of many other instances where you pay for something but might not get it and have to accept it.

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  • “Most patients in hospitals in Scotland and Wales get free parking, while most English hospitals charge a small fortune, he said"

    NB excluding PFI built hospitals, and still extortionate prices for staff.

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