Hospital car parking: NHS staff in England pay £5m more in fees than last year

Political parties make pre-election promises about controversial charges 

Political parties make pre-election promises about controversial charges 

Picture: Steve Parsons / PA Wire

NHS staff paid £5 million more in car parking fees in England this year compared with last, an investigation has found.

A total of 126 NHS trusts responded to a freedom of information request by the Press Association (PA) regarding parking charges.

The data shows that NHS staff paid £65,219,879 in fees in 2018-19, up from £60,060,676 the year before.

NHS staff, patients and visitors collectively paid £254,373,068 in 2018-19 – a 10% increase on the year before (£232,236,216).

The trusts with the highest revenue from parking charges

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust saw the most parking revenue in 2018-19, at £6,352,676.

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust came second with £5,876,000, followed by University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust at £5,025,860.

Just over half of the trusts (65) said their car parks were managed by a private company, with at least 23 of these private firms taking all the income from parking fines.

Parking charges inspire political promises

England is the outlier in the UK when it comes to hospital car parking, which is free in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

The issue has received attention from political parties in the run-up to this week’s election, with the Labour Party stating it will make all hospital parking free if elected.

The Conservative Party said it will make parking free for those in greatest need, including the disabled, parents of sick children staying overnight, staff working night shifts and those regularly needing outpatient appointments. It has not clarified how this division of payers and non-payers will be administrated.

The PA investigation also surveyed 7,883 patients and visitors about their attitudes to paying for hospital parking.

Half of them (49%) said nobody should have to pay for parking at hospitals.

Half (50%) said the government should cover the cost of parking, while 23% said the responsibility should fall to NHS trusts.

The consequences of abolishing parking fines

NHS Providers deputy chief executive Saffron Cordery said abolishing parking charges could cost £200 million per year, which trusts will have to find from other areas – and this could have a negative effect on patient care.  

RCN England director Patricia Marquis said: ‘It is disappointing that the cost of hospital car parking has raised.’

She highlighted the fact that shift work and unreliable public transport means many nurses have to drive to work.

The college has urged all NHS trusts to find a solution so that staff and visitors do not have to pay for parking.

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