Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hospital car park charges really are a tax on the sick

I don't know about you but I have always felt it wrong that hospitals charge visitors and patients to park their cars in their car parks. The BMA has today called for such schemes to be scrapped (at Welsh hospitals) claiming they are "a tax on the sick". Welsh Assembly Government figures show NHS trusts took £5.4m from car parking charges last year alone. The latest UK wide figure is that £95 million was raised by such schemes nation wide.

Government guidelines on car parking charges "strongly recommended" that NHS bodies introduce some kind of "season ticket" arrangement and allow free or reduced-price parking for patients with a long-term illness or those with serious conditions who require daily or regular treatment, and their prime visitors. The government has also suggested a weekly cap on parking charges at hospitals.

One option that needs urgently to be looked at is the provision of free hospital parking and help with travel costs for all cancer patients. The other option is to scrap the charges completely!


Methodist Preacher said...

Hi Mike, Having worked as a comms director at two acute hospitals I have answered many a query about car parking.

Some observations:

1) We have to ensure staff do not grab all the best parking spaces when they arrive first thing in the morning - therefore there has to be some control that must be funded.

2) Most hospitals do make special provision for blue badge holders and this would normally include people with chronic conditions such as cancer.

3)Some hospitals do offer "season ticket" arrangements for frequent visitors, though these vary widely.

4)Parking problems are often the biggest single cause of complaints to hospitals and is an incredibly difficult issue to address!

5)Finally, hospital car parks, often on congested NHS sites, would not be needed for many people if all hospitals were easily accesible by good quality public transport.

sim-o said...

better signage about concessions for a weeks ticket would be a start.