Parliamentary briefing: Hospitals (Parking Charges and Business Rates) Bill 2019-21
- The Hospitals (Parking Charges and Business Rates) Bill seeks to abolish all NHS car parking charges in England for patients and visitors within three months of the Act being passed.
- The bill excludes car parks contracted out to third parties but does call for providers to make arrangements to stop charging once the contract has ended or when it is next reviewed.
- This bill goes further than the government’s current position on hospital car park charging.
- Following the 2019 general election the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced that from April this year, all 206 hospital trusts in England would be expected to provide free car parking to certain groups. This includes blue badge holders and frequent outpatients who attend regular appointments for long-term conditions and certain groups at specific times of the day: parents of sick children staying in hospital overnight and staff working night shifts.
- Following the outbreak of COVID-19, the DHSC announced that the secretary of state would give immediate financial backing for all trusts to provide free parking for staff for the duration of coronavirus and urged trusts to make use of government funding to abolish car parking charges for their staff during the pandemic. We support the measure to provide free car parking to staff but sufficient funding must be provided to trusts to avoid any resources being taken from frontline services.
- Trust leaders want patients to be able to access care at minimum cost and maximum convenience which is why many already offer parking concessions. But providing parking carries a cost and we must ensure that this is not taken from funding for patient care.