The Welsh Assembly announced this week that free parking will apply from 1 April at all NHS hospitals, except where trusts have external contracts in place.
Trusts with external contracts will have to reduce parking fees, as they will be required to propose and fund schemes to reduce costs until contracts expire or are ended, said health minister for Wales Edwina Hart.
By the end of the current assembly term in 2011, only four hospital sites out of a total of 130 will be due to still have parking charges in place, she added.
Wales is the first UK country to introduce free parking, though ministers in Scotland have recently reviewed the issue and set a £3 cap for the majority of hospitals.
Tina Donnelly, director of RCN Wales, said: ‘This is good news for patients, hospital visitors and our members alike who are often financially burdened by the costs of parking. Our members are taxed daily by these charges in the course of carrying out their duties and delivering care to patients; this will help to alleviate that issue.’