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Third of England's hospital trusts raise parking charges over year

NHS Digital figures show that a third of hospital trusts in England have increased their car parking charges in the last year
car

A third of hospital trusts in England have increased their car parking charges in the last year, with a 1-hour stay rising to as much as 4, figures show.

Of 209 hospital trusts that reported figures to NHS Digital for 2014-15 and 2015-16, a third (69) revealed an increase in their average hourly charge when calculated across 3 hours.

The NHS Digital data showed a 15% average rise in parking charges across English trusts in the same period.

An analysis by the Press Association of figures obtained directly from NHS trusts and data submitted to NHS Digital showed some trusts have scrapped a 1 or 2-hour charge.

Flat fee

This means patients and visitors have

A third of hospital trusts in England have increased their car parking charges in the last year, with a 1-hour stay rising to as much as £4, figures show.


The Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford, Surrey, whose car parking
charges are the most expensive in the country for a one-hour stay. Picture: PA

Of 209 hospital trusts that reported figures to NHS Digital for 2014-15 and 2015-16, a third (69) revealed an increase in their average hourly charge when calculated across 3 hours. 

The NHS Digital data showed a 15% average rise in parking charges across English trusts in the same period.

An analysis by the Press Association of figures obtained directly from NHS trusts and data submitted to NHS Digital showed some trusts have scrapped a 1 or 2-hour charge.

Flat fee 

This means patients and visitors have to pay a flat fee for 3 hours, even if they are only staying for 45 minutes. 

The most expensive parking stay in the country is at the Royal Surrey County Hospital Foundation Trust, where patients pay £4 for any stay up to two hours. 

It does have a few bays where people can park for 20 minutes before being charged. 

At the Hereford County Hospital in Herefordshire, patients and visitors can park for free for 10 minutes but are then charged £3.50 for an hour and £5 for 2 hours.

England leads parking charges

England is the only UK country where hospitals routinely charge people for parking.

Patients Association chief executive Katherine Murphy said: ‘We acknowledge that many hospitals are in financial difficulty, but making money out of the public in this way is not the answer.’

At the other end of the scale, car parking at the Trafford General Hospital in Greater Manchester is free for up to 3 hours, while Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust charges £1.50 per day. 

Previous analysis by the Press Association last December revealed some trusts make more than £3 million a year from car parking charges to staff, patients and visitors.

Urgent changes 

At the time, RCN head of employment relations Josie Irwin said if nurses had to pay excessive charges for parking, it would affect their pay, ‘which has already fallen far behind the rate of inflation’. 

Royal Surrey deputy chief executive Alf Turner said patients, visitors and staff told the trust that ‘urgent changes’ had to be made to its parking provisions.

He added: ‘The trust’s challenging financial position means it does not have the additional funds to invest in the future of its car parking facilities without making the incredibly difficult decision to charge people for using the car parks.’

The most expensive trusts in England for a 1-hour visit are: 
  • Royal Surrey County Hospital £4
  • Hereford County Hospital: £3.50
  • Stockport £3.50
  • Bristol Royal Infirmary £3.40
  • West Suffolk Hospital £3.30
  • Northampton General £3.10
  • Royal Free, London £3
  • Basildon Hospital, Essex £3
  • Whittington Hospital, London (after 5pm) £3
  • St Thomas' Hospital, London £3
  • Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, London £3
  • Aintree University Hospital £3
  • Luton and Dunstable £3
  • Mid Cheshire Hospitals £3
  • Mid Essex £3
  • Southend University Hospital £3
  • Princess Alexandra Hospital, Essex £3
  • University Hospital of South Manchester £3
  • Warrington Hospital £3

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