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Hospital parking charges set to stay

Hopes that hospitals in England could be banned from charging patients for parking look set to be dashed, after ministers indicated the move appeared too expensive.

The previous Labour government began a consultation last year on how to implement a pledge by then health secretary Andy Burnham to scrap charges within three years.

But the incoming Tory-Lib Dem coalition has indicated it was likely to leave the decision in the hands of individual NHS trusts.

Parking is free in the rest of the UK and consumer groups have accused many health chiefs in England of ripping off patients - with fees netting trusts more than £100m a year.

Simon Burns said: “For a long time we have been unconvinced that Labour’s car parking idea was properly funded and practical. We will publish a response to the NHS car parking consultation soon and all decisions will be subject to the spending review.

“Andy Burnham himself was forced to retreat from his initial commitment on hospital car parking and even some members of his own party didn’t support his proposal.

“That said, it is clear that where parking charges are making it difficult for staff to do their jobs properly, where they are damaging patient access to services, or preventing friends and family from visiting then hospital trusts have a responsibility to respond to those factors”.

Mr Burnham insisted the plan was affordable and pledged to make it Labour policy to provide in-patients with one free pass to ease their costs if elected party leader.

“Patients and their families will feel let down by this,” he said.

“Car parking charges make it harder for families to visit their loved ones in hospital, and Labour’s funded plan to phase them out for inpatients would have made a real difference. So much for the Tories’ promise not to make cuts in the NHS.”

 

Readers' comments (4)

  • At this current time of economic misery, l really don't understand the governements position on parking charges. As someone who supports the coalition position on the debt of the nation, l also feel that they have to show commen sense as well.

    They expect NHS staff and the general public to tolerate cuts in spending generally, although they say not in the NHS, so why cant they show some common sense and make sure that they curb the excessive charges that are being levied?

    Lets have a fixed fee of £1 for a set minimum period of time of 2 hours for visitors and 12 hours for staff. This should then be mandatery for all Trusts.

    They should only be looking to cover the costs of providing the facility.

    If this is not a solution then Trusts must be able to show annually, how much income they hgave made and what they have spent on car parking.

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  • My hospital have just recently increased their car park charges. It is now "pay as you earn" for all the hospital staff. We normally pay £1 per shift but we have had a 150% increase of £2:50! The excuse it the want to improve security around the car park.

    As a staff member none of us were informed about our feelings towards the increased. I think it is just taking advantage of the credit crisis. Cars are being broken into and even get stollen from this hospital car park!!!!! All we do is to report it to the police but nothing is being done!!! Now we have to pay £2:50 during the pay freeze!

    I do feel for the patient and their family members. This hospital security group are only great in offering penalty charges! I work with children, the stress of having you child in the hospital, not even diagnosed, worried the last thing on their minds will be to pay for their parking. When we do ask them if they have a car in the car park and pass on necessary discount information they would have already recieve a penalty charge.

    It is all part of a money making!!!!!!! If I work in a hospital I expect to have free parking.
    Bands 1-4 pays £15 per month.
    Bands 5-7 pays £20 per month.
    Bands 8a-8d & 9 pays £30 per month.
    Executive Directors and Medical Conultants will be paying £35 per month.

    We are only going there to make patients get better! So it not only the patients an their relatives feeling the hitch but all!!!


    IT All MONEY MAKING!!!!!!!!



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  • This is simply a form of taxation - targeted on those least able to pay!

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  • Quite frankly who cares if trusts screw the life out of patient's/visitors and staff in parking charges!?

    MP's don't care....the public don't really care as they keep voting in the same moronic govt's time after time.

    The staff aren't bothered as they quite happily pay to park at work.

    If i was a chief exec i'd be putting the charges up.

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