NHS Foundations that charge most for parking revealed, as Patients Association calls for charges to be scrapped.
Hospital income from parking for 2013 to 2016
NHS Foundation Trusts in England charged £344 million to park at hospitals between 2013 and 2016, Auto Express revealed. It predominantly came via patients – many of whom visited daily for treatment – plus their visitors and carers. Trusts claimed an additional £2.8 million fining drivers that fell foul of the rules.
Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust received the most from parking, at £10,858,298 (2013 to 2016 excluding fines). A spokesperson said the majority was spent on maintaining its car parks, but confirmed: “Any revenue remaining is reinvested into caring for our patients”. The remainder of the top 10 incorporated:
- Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust - £10,333,980,
- Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust - £9,859,187,
- Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - £9,391,935,
- Central Manchester NHS Foundation Trust - £8,940,052,
- The Pennine Acute Hospitals NHS Trust -£7,813,559,
- Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust - £7,417,537,
- Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust - £6,982,463,
- The University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust - £6,933,404,
- South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust - £6,544,045.
Patients Association objects to parking “tax”
Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, told Auto Express: “This is a tax on the ill. Going to hospital can be stressful, and patients do not need further stress by having to worry about the cost of parking or about any fines they may incur.”
Auto Express also confirmed that charges vary immensely. Some Foundations have a standard tariff of £3.50, for example, whereas others enable patients and visitors to park from as little as 60 pence. Furthermore, some – but not all - limit the cost for the most frequent visitors and make concessions for blue badge holders.
The Department of Health told the motoring magazine that more than 50% of hospitals provide free parking, in England. Auto Express, however, concluded that motorists are typically limited to 30 minutes. Only 4 Trusts in England make no charge, which is a contrast to most of the counterparts throughout Scotland and Wales.
Scrap parking charges, says Patients Association
Katherine Murphy called on NHS Foundation Trusts throughout England to eliminate parking charges completely. However, this proposal has previously been blocked by the government and not everyone considers it valid. A British Parking Association spokesman argued:
“Whilst many people attending healthcare facilities expect car parking to be free the limits on space, costs involved, and demand for spaces mean that parking needs to be managed. Often the most effective way to do this is by charging”, the spokesperson claimed.