Hospital parking nets more than £120 million for NHS trusts
NHS hospitals are making more money than ever from car park charges, an investigation has found.
NHS hospitals are making more money than ever from car park fees, with more than half charging disabled visitors and generating thousands every year in fines, an investigation has found.
Hospitals across England made more than £120 million from charging patients, staff and visitors for parking in the past year: up 5% on the year before and rising year on year, according to data collected by the Press Association.
Some 120 NHS trusts across England were asked to give figures on parking charges and fines under the Freedom of Information Act, with 89 providing responses.
Overall, NHS trusts netted £120,662,650 in 2015-16 in car park charges, up from £114,873,867 in 2014-15, the study found.
Some 27 trusts provided data on parking fines, showing they made £2,300,208 in fines over a four-year period. In 2015-16 alone, £635,387 was made from fining patients, visitors and staff on hospital grounds.
Put back into care
The investigation also found that almost half of all NHS trusts charge disabled people for parking in some or all of their disabled spaces.
Many trusts defended their revenues, saying some or all of the money was put back into patient care, or was spent on maintaining car parks or grounds.
Others claimed their sheer size and the fact that they served busy neighbourhoods meant they took more in revenue.
Patients Association chief executive Katherine Murphy said it was unfair that hospital parking in Wales and Scotland was largely free, while patients in England were still forced to pay.
She said: ‘We are not talking about insignificant amounts of money, either. It is alarming that trusts think it is okay to charge people so much money for visiting a hospital, as it makes patients question the values of the people leading the organisation.
‘We take a clear line that car parking fees need to be scrapped or strictly capped.’
In October, a Press Association investigation revealed that a third of hospital trusts in England had increased their car parking charges in the past year.
A Department of Health spokesperson said: ‘Patients and families shouldn’t have to deal with the added stress of unfair parking charges. We expect all NHS organisations to follow our guidelines and put concessions in place for those who most need help, including disabled people, carers and staff who work shifts.’
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