Surge in Costs and Critics:
Car parking fees paid by both hospital staff and patients, which had fallen during the pandemic, experienced an alarming eight-fold increase compared to the previous year.
According to NHS England figures for 2022/23, hospital patients and visitors collectively paid £146 million for car parking, marking a significant rise from £96.7 million a year earlier.
Critics have denounced these charges as a ‘tax on caring,’ and some argue that such high prices may discourage people from seeking care or limit the support they receive from visitors.
Failure to Fulfill Pledge:
Criticism has been directed towards ministers for failing to fulfill a Tory manifesto pledge to eliminate these perceived unfair parking fees.
Campaign groups have expressed concerns about the potential impact of these ‘sky high’ charges on patient care and support from visitors.
Income from Parking Fees:
NHS trusts reported a gross income of £145.8 million from patient and visitor parking, signifying a 50% increase from the previous year.
This surge is even more pronounced, representing a threefold increase from the £47.9 million earned two years ago. The daily spending on hospital car parks averaged £400,000 throughout the year.
Trusts with Highest Income:
University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust reported the highest income from patient and visitor parking fees, totaling £5.2 million, followed by University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, which generated £3.6 million.
Staff Parking Fees Skyrocket:
Car parking fees paid by hospital staff nationally experienced an astounding more than eight-fold increase compared to the previous year, soaring from £5.6 million in 2021/22 to £46.7 million in 2022/23.
This substantial jump was attributed to the reintroduction of parking charges that were temporarily scrapped during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Current Guidelines and Concerns:
Current NHS guidelines, updated in March of the previous year, advocate for free parking for disabled individuals, frequent outpatient attenders, parents of sick children staying overnight, and staff working night shifts.
However, data suggests that 18 trusts still impose parking fees on disabled people at some or all of their sites.
Daisy Cooper, health and social care spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, characterized hospital car parking fees as a burden on visitors and NHS staff, accusing the Conservative Government of failing to fulfill its promise.
In response, a Tory spokesman defended their fulfillment of the manifesto pledge, urging the Liberal Democrats to specify which services they would cut to further subsidize parking.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman highlighted that free hospital parking in England has been provided for those most in need.
As of October 2022, trusts charging for car parking have fully implemented this commitment, representing the first instance of free hospital car parking in England for those who need it the most.Share on Facebook «||» Share on Twitter «||» Share on Reddit «||» Share on LinkedIn