In a response to written parliamentary questions by Helen Jones MP, the government have admitted to not knowing what proportion of each HNS Trust’s income is accrued from parking charges.
The MP was told that figures for the income gained from NHS parking charges were not collected centrally but that the average fee charged per hour for patients and visitors at NHS Trusts was £1.32 per hour and for staff 19p per hour. (Warrington Hospital charges £2.50 for up to 2 hours and £3.50 for up to 4 hours – with the first 30 minutes free).
The minister made clear that the provision of parking spaces and the level of any charges that are made to use them are matters for individual NHS Trusts, taking into account operational circumstances and community interests. The NHS itself is responsible for ensuring that charges are fairly applied.
Helen Jones MP said:
“It is outrageous that the minister does not know how much each NHS Trust makes from car parking charges and how reliant our hospitals are on this income source given that they are so cash strapped as a result of government policy.
“The Secretary of State for Health recently stated that patients and families shouldn’t have to deal with the added stress of unfair parking charges. How can he possibly do anything about it when he doesn’t know the scale of the problem and is leaving the decisions of how fair the charges are to the NHS itself. It is an abdication of his responsibilities.
“Labour would abolish hospital car parking fees with the cost of free parking paid for from a tax on healthcare insurance.”