My recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust has revealed that it collected £1,314,035 in the last financial year from car park charges.
The Royal Shrewsbury Hospital (RSH) collected £751,944 and the Princess Royal £546,776 with £15,315 being collected via fine enforcements. It also reveals that the private company that administers both car parks was paid £526,677 for its services.
I will be writing to the PRH Trust asking for all charges to be capped at £1 per visit until 2013 and for the Trust to bring forward proposals to scrap the charge altogether by 2014.
The founding principle of the NHS was that it would offer free-at-the-point-of-delivery healthcare. Surely this should apply whether you go to hospital as a patient, as a visitor or a member of staff. For patients attending the PRH for out-patient treatment and visitors concerned with the health of their families, worrying about the cost of parking is the last thing they need, and as hospital procedures are notoriously unpredictable, having to rush out after a couple of hours to move their car will in many cases just not be possible.
The present charges constitute a tax on the sick and I seriously question whether paying a private company over £500,000 to administer both car parks constitutes good value for money.