Hospital car parking charges a complex issue for trusts

01 February 2018

 

This afternoon (1 February 2018) MPs will debate the need for a consultation to find the most efficient means of abolishing parking charges.

A Private Members Bill on the abolition of hospital car park charges is set to be debated by MPs next month. Sponsored by Robert Halfon MP, if made into law, the bill would prohibit car parking charges at NHS hospitals for patients, staff and visitors.

 

Ahead of the Commons debate and on the wider issue of hospital car parking charges, the director of policy and strategy and deputy chief executive at NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery said:

“This is a complex issue. Not all NHS trusts own the car parks on their sites and individual trusts set their own parking policies. This means there is some variation in what patients in different local areas will pay. We understand why this can be so frustrating for patients and NHS trusts do their best to minimise these charges. For example, concessions are often offered to people with disabilities or those receiving on going treatment (such as chemotherapy). Many NHS trusts will also ensure patients who are in hospital for a day or more pay a set amount and not by the hour which is more expensive.

If car parking charges were to be abolished it would mean nearly £200 million of funding would need to be found from elsewhere .

“Despite this, NHS trusts have to pass on some of these costs as car parks are expensive to run and maintain. The revenue generated is mainly used to maintain these facilities, with any surpluses reinvested in care for patients. If car parking charges were to be abolished it would mean nearly £200 million of funding would need to be found from elsewhere – either from within already scarce NHS sources or through an increase in the NHS budget.

“Also NHS trusts are often located close to town centres, where space is at a premium and there is high demand for land. There is a risk that this parking space could be used by other members of the public who are not using health services if there are no longer parking charges.”

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