Nearly half of NHS trusts surveyed in England have increased their car parking charges

RCN says the goodwill of staff will not last forever

RCN says the goodwill of nurses will not last forever

Picture: Neil O’Connor

Almost half of NHS trusts surveyed in England have increased their car parking fees in the past year, an investigation has found.

A total of 124 NHS trusts responded to freedom of information requests by the Press Association (PA) regarding parking charges.

Of these, 53 (43%) had increased prices in the past year for visitors or staff, or both.

In some regions, fees have risen sharply, with trusts more than doubling the cost for some lengths of stay.

Varying fees

At Airedale NHS Foundation Trust in West Yorkshire, a stay of four to 24 hours cost £8 in 2017-18, up from £3.50 the year before. The trust made £1,287,322 from parking in 2017-18.

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool scrapped its £2 flat rate for a full day, with six to eight hours now costing £4.50, and eight to 24 hours £6.

Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust in Surrey – one of the highest-earning trusts in terms of parking revenue – made £4,452,481 from charging staff, patients and visitors in 2017-18.

Earlier this year, NHS Digital data showed that NHS trusts made more than £226 million in 2017-18 from parking, including penalty fines.

In contrast, parking charges have been abolished in Wales and most of Scotland.

‘Public transport is often not an option’

RCN England director Tom Sandford said nurses should not be overcharged for doing their job.

‘For staff working shifts, public transport is often not an option, so nurses and support workers have no choice but to pay parking charges that rise year on year,’ he said.

‘Struggling hospitals should not try to make money from their staff. Their goodwill won’t last forever. Trusts should provide reasonable car parking with affordable charges.’

Funding problem

Unison head of health Sara Gorton blamed a lack of government funding for the parking fee hikes. 

‘If the government put more money into the health service, charges could be scrapped, and nurses, porters and their NHS colleagues would no longer have to pay through the nose simply to park at work,’ she said.

Alternative options required

A Department of Health spokesperson said: ‘We have made it very clear that patients, their families and our hard-working staff should not be subjected to unfair parking charges.

‘NHS trusts are responsible for these charges and ensuring revenue goes back into front-line services, and we want to see trusts coming up with options that put staff, patients and their families first.’

Labour has vowed to axe hospital car parking charges if elected.

NHS Providers said revenue from car parks goes towards maintaing and running the facilities with any surplus reinvested into patient services. 

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