Are hospital trusts cashing in on the sick?

Patients in England are being penalised with increasing parking charges with 30% of hospital trusts having raised their parking charges over the last year.

The most expensive hospital carpark in England is the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford which costs £4 per hour; this fee has doubled over the last 3 years. At the other end of the scale, car parking at Trafford General Hospital in Greater Manchester is free for up to three hours.

The most expensive trusts in England (for a one-hour visit)

  1. Royal Surrey County Hospital £4
  2. Hereford County Hospital: £3.50
  3. Stockport £3.50
  4. Bristol Royal Infirmary £3.40
  5. West Suffolk Hospital £3.30

Laura Keely, campaigns manager at Macmillan Cancer Support, said charges are particularly unfair on cancer patients. “They often need to make frequent trips to hospital. They should not be left out of pocket in order to receive life-saving treatment.”

Some NHS trusts offer concessions to visitors whose loved one is terminally ill and also discounts or weekly tickets for lengthy courses of treatment.

Visiting hospitals is not something anyone would choose to do.  Patients are vulnerable and quite often anxious and visitors can be distressed too.  Is it right that at a time like this you are charged to park your car, quite often at a premium rate?  In addition to this, the charge is usually on an hourly basis, and attending hospital can be unpredictable in terms of time required, so there is an additional stress factor imposed when pre-purchasing a parking ticket.

What are your views? How much is the hourly charge at your local hospital? Is paying to park to visit a hospital morally wrong? Should these parking charges be significantly reduced or abolished? 

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