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Should hospital parking charges be dropped?

16:53 UK time, Thursday, 16 September 2010

Car parking charges for hospitals in England are to remain in place, the coalition government has announced. Should hospitals charge for parking?

The previous Labour administration had said it wanted to make parking free for in-patients and regular out-patients. But the coalition says there are better uses of public money than scrapping car parking charges.

Health minister Simon Burns said: "Hospitals need to take responsibility for their own car parking arrangements. Parking is already free at most hospitals in Scotland and Wales and for certain priority groups in Northern Ireland.

Have you paid for parking at a hospital? How much did you pay? Is it right for hospitals to charge for parking? Should they only charge certain groups? Do you agree with the government that there are better uses for public money?

Thank you for your comments. This debate is now closed.

Comments

Page 1 of 3

  • Comment number 1.

    I find it totally inappropriate that hospitals charge for car parking. It is a product of the previous Government´s policy of `Find the money yourselves.´

  • Comment number 2.

    'Parking is already free at most hospitals in Scotland and Wales' says the BBC at the top of this post. Probably wouldn't be a bad idea for it to be free in England then.

    Besides people worrying about family they are visiting don't want other bothers like worrying about if they have the right coins to put in the meter.

  • Comment number 3.

    I have a solution that should work all around. Have the patients validate parking!

    Someone comes to visit their loved one in hospital. They park their car and get a ticket from the machine. They then visit their loved one and at the same the patient stamps their ticket to prove that they actually visited someone in the hospital and didn't just park there and swan off to the bingo.

    Simples.

  • Comment number 4.

    An interesting one this. Everybody over the border in England assumes that here in Wales they have been all scrapped. In fact, they haven't, at least not yet. At Cardiff's University Hospital in Heath Park they continue, and for good reason. The place is vast with three multi-storey car parks and other parking areas all in voluminous grounds. All of which need maintaining. So if the income generated goes on this necessary expenditure, then it is worth it. I wouldn't want crucial budget money going on keeping the grounds neat when it would be better spent on the hospital itself.
    Regards, etc.

  • Comment number 5.

    A hospital bed is a parked taxi with the meter running.

  • Comment number 6.

    Parking space at hospital should be provided FREE of charge.
    Else ALL within the hospital should be subjected to the same charge . That would included employees of the hospital !!! of course ..

    The same with ALL public own parking spaces. If you want to park on it then it should either be free or everybody pays a parking fee. That is regardless whether they are employees , contractors or visitors!!

    A hospital visitor is just has important as medicine to the sick.

    It is amazing how far the public sector will go to raise revenue ,before actually tackleling ingrained problems of waste and out off control wage bills

  • Comment number 7.

    No chance. Give up a {big] source of revenue... What? You didn't actually think.... nooooooooo!

  • Comment number 8.

    Any tax on the sick or dying is unacceptable. Of course, this should be abolished. Why should an out-patient be forced to pay extra for parking? And if you are visiting your dying mother, why should it cost you extra?

    I am sorry but the parking fees should already have been removed. They do generate income but how much is the cost of collection? And the ill-will generated is colossal.

  • Comment number 9.

    The problem is people who are not visiting the hospital using the car park because it's cheaper than on-street parking in the surrounding area. Surely a scheme could be devised whereby your hospital parking ticket is stamped when you arrive for your appointment, which then entitles you to leave the car park without paying at the barrier?

  • Comment number 10.

    Think they can afford to drop it? Probably not.

  • Comment number 11.

    Of course they should or at least they should be reasonable. The current charges are theft.

  • Comment number 12.

    Up here in Scotland, our local hospital abolished charges some time ago so patients and visitors should be able to park without charge. Unfortunately staff who previously parked elsewhere to avoid the charges now use many of the spaces. We used to have to pay for a space, but at least we could get one. It is no longer the case.

  • Comment number 13.

    When are we going to see ANY liberal policies coming through? This is not a coalition; it is an un-elected Tory dictatorship.I hope all real Lib-Dems are going to defect to Labour NOW. All who remain are Tories.

  • Comment number 14.

    Should hospital parking charges be dropped? Yes. They should never had been introduced in the first place, it's obscene.

  • Comment number 15.

    Don't mind paying but the parking slots should be bigger, not cattle grid size!

  • Comment number 16.

    The most disturbing aspect of car parking charges for inpatients and out patients in England, is that those charges are to be kept to subside free hospital parking in Scotland and Wales?

    Yes, I do hope my comment stirs up a hornets nest - because English patients in English hospitals are being discriminated against by this English Parliament, who have no powers over Scottish or Welsh Parliaments on this issue, but would, if they could?

    There are simple and affordable ways for this Parliament to enable patients not to be fleeced by parking charges - they simply and conveniently choose to ignore them. Disgraceful.

  • Comment number 17.

    When I chaired a community health council, our local hospital introduced parking charges. Our members were not too happy about this and on a technical level didn't agree with the reasons given. After that, it became a self fulfilling excuse, (the fees pay for the car park attendants.) Quite...

    I didn't help matters when I pointed out that NHS care is, as per the NHS Act 1948, "free at point of delivery." On that basis, I dared the trust to clamp me. They never did, and after I took up the cudgels for a person who was clamped, they stopped clamping.

    A few years later, I became Chairman of a trust myself. Whilst it wasn't a huge priority, I did ask management to look at the implications of removing parking fees at our two community hospitals. Three months later, parking became free again, and the cost? Neutral to within a pound or two.

    This is about the old government wanting to promote public transport. Fine, promote it, but not by inconveniencing patients and their visitors.

  • Comment number 18.

    My wife is a nurse and has to pay to park at the hospital she works at.

    There is a cheaper option taking the park and ride bus but it operates 7am until 7pm and she has to be at work outside those times due to shifts or trying to find a bed for patients which can take ages, so she stays late to ensure good care.

    I understand charging as it cuts abuse of the car park space but some groups including regular visitors should get a discount.

    For me the business of hospitals is health and not car park management.

  • Comment number 19.

    "Before free parking in some cardiff hospitals the legal cowboy clampers ? would clamp the workers cars? How many hours was lost for the N.H.S.? How much did that cost us the taxpayers? But today every one parks in the hospital car-parks No choice unless you want to pay The {ticket} every where near any hospital The new parking enforces' are out in numbers,getting extra funds for our cash strapped council. This is before the Con/Dem cuts.

  • Comment number 20.

    I agree with comment 3.Perhaps give a time limit even if validated. People will always try to take advantage at the cost of others who may have a more pressing need

  • Comment number 21.

    This is nothing more than profiteering out of peoples misery and illness. It is highly distasteful and should be stopped ASAP.

  • Comment number 22.

    It's a disgrace they were brought in. Does it say something deeper about how certain people have chosen to administer our world?

  • Comment number 23.

    Hospital parking is not free in Scotland except in a few hospitals who have either not started to charge or haven't contracted to parking companies or given all their say in running the hospital to a PPI company. Paying for parking is a disgrace and the last government who were responsible for allowing it and making it possible for it to continue should be ashamed.

  • Comment number 24.

    Surely the millions of pounds of tax payers money spent on the popes visit could be offset to lower or suspend hospital car parking fees?

  • Comment number 25.

    People who have to visit hospital regularly can purchase weekly, monthly and even yearly parking tickets at very reduced rates. One-off visitors pay about the same as for most car parks in town centres, where they are also "fleeced" in the shops. Hospital restaurants are also cheaper and often better than town centre restaurants. It seems to me there is a much stronger case for the abolition of charges in town centre car parks. No one complains when alcohol and cigarettes go up in price, but they complain when they have to pay to park when they go to see their relatives who are in hospital suffering from lung or liver diseases because they've smoked or drunk too much. People need to stop whingeing about things like this and start being thankful that we have a country with a National Health Service and some of the best healthcare and hospitals in the world.

  • Comment number 26.

    Of course parking should be free.


    Any caring government would not be taxing the sick and infirm




  • Comment number 27.

    The newly rebuilt Hospital in Cosham has, as part of that rebuild, a multi-storey car park. Quite rightly parking is charged, both to pay for the new facility and to deter non visitors from blocking the spaces. There is a rebate scheme for some parking, and a reduction for staff. The place is served by several bus routes from across the city.
    Until a couple of years ago parking was not only free, it was virtually impossible. The old site had a couple of small areas for cars, with many cars needing to be parked in local roads. At least now we can all get a fair chance of parking.
    Although not cheap the QAH charges a fair price for a good service.

  • Comment number 28.

    Here is a message to all MPs.

    Fiddling your expenses is WRONG.

    Levying taxes targeted at sick people is WRONG.

    Fight a by election on the issue. I dare you.

  • Comment number 29.

    Yes it should be free, why? Its public property that's why!.

  • Comment number 30.

    It is not a question of affording it.

    It is a question of knowing right from wrong.

    Get a clue!

  • Comment number 31.

    Parking charges are a tax on the sick and their relatives hust like the scandal which is hospital bedside television.

  • Comment number 32.

    I am not surprised they have thrown stopping hospital parking charges out, this and the last government have had NO opposition when it comes to matters concerning england, they can do as they please, we have no government dedicated the english cause and i am afraid until we get one we will continue to be trodden into the earth.

  • Comment number 33.

    It's a tax on illness.

    In any case, last time I visited hospital I couldn't find a parking spot because most parking places where taken by hospital staff.

    I had an ankle injury and ended up having to hobble half a mile to my appointment.

  • Comment number 34.

    yes,

    the land on which our hospitals are built is, or should belong to us, the tax payer, so we should not pay to aprk in a place that we already own through our tax payments

    this is just a revenue stream pure and simple

    free at the point of use, discuss

  • Comment number 35.

    Well what doe's anyone expect from a Con-Demned Government as they are not simply just satisfied with slashing State Benefits for the Poor, by also since many more of those going to be made Unemployed soon will also start having a Mental Breakdown when they find that there is too much Week left over at the end of their Weekly survival Benefit Payments, while therefore on top of also what else the Poor won't be able to afford comes the News that when going to Hospital for whayever reasons Car Parking - Charges will be another payment that you just cannot afford.

    I hope those whom Voted for this useless bunch of Con-Demned MPs' don't now start complaining and winging that these Parking - Charges will also be effecting them in their Pockets.

    However Sad it is going to get in the next 5 Years, we've now got, and have ended up with what some People have Voted for in this Life.

  • Comment number 36.

    I don't have an issue with the parking charges in principle, but they are out of line with reality.

    Charging by the hour to see someone who is sick is wrong. I would happily pay say £1 for a visit and this is paid at a barrrier when you enter the hospital. My wife went to visit her mother in hospital this week and it cost £3.50 to park.

    When my son was born it cost £60 for parking as the hospital only give free parking when you go to the maternity and my wife spent a day on the general ward being induced.

  • Comment number 37.

    What is annoying is that as an out patient your appointment could be at 10.00am but you do not see a specialist etc until 11.00am. you have now paid for an hour to sit on your backside looking bored. If they are going to charge for parking it should be per appointment rather than per hour.

  • Comment number 38.

    No. Parking charges have helped the NHS Foiundation Hospital. The Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital is close to Exeter City Centre and parking charges prevent people other than patients, visitors parking in the car parks. They would be used inappropriately by shoppers, employees etc. parking charges prevents that. Parking cahrges are also being used to provde a park and ride service to the hospital. In fact Exeter City Council should allow the RDE Hospital to have multi storey parking as there is an inadequate amount of parking spaces for a samll city in a very rural area where there is limited public transport. In fact at times some patients have had to ring the outpatients to say they cannot attend an appointment as they ahve been unable to park.

  • Comment number 39.

    car parking should be free of charge as the motorists have already paid for it through the taxes leved on them, if every group of people contributed the same way as the motorists this would be a very wealthy country , instead we are used as cash cows to prop uo the feckless and bone idle as well as other groups like public transport who are also subsidy junkies, I live in a rural location with very little public transport, a car is esential yet I like many others are getting bled dry in punitve taxation to support these others,any time you see a busa in our area it is causing a traffic jamb and congestion

  • Comment number 40.

    "Should hospitals charge for parking?"

    absolutely not. if someone can be shown to persistently misuse the arrangement, their vehicle should be impounded and auctioned off ( with all preceeds going to the hospital).

  • Comment number 41.

    That is what happens when politicians report to nobody but the bonus bankers of the City of London.

  • Comment number 42.

    Why would we expect anything else from a Conservative government? They represent those who can easily afford private healthcare let alone those to whom parking charges are just a bit of loose change. They have no concept that these charges cause extra worry to people who have enough to worry about with their health or that of loved ones. Perhaps they could recoup the money by taxing the profits or excessive bonuses of their friends in the financial industries etc.

  • Comment number 43.

    I have always supported scrapping parking charges, but now I'm wavering a bit. Patients should certainly be free, but I think visitors should pay in the current climate.

  • Comment number 44.

    Unfortunately, if there is free car park in a convenient place, it will be full of cars that are not connected with hospital visits. If it has to policed, then that has to be paid for. Free visitors' vouchers by all means, but hefty fines will be needed to fund for the wardens.

  • Comment number 45.

    Another black hole for our money to vanish down, courtesy of a failing NHS. You don't honestly believe this 'service' will be provided for our future benefit? Lining the pockets of the undeserved maybe.

    Yet another step towards totalitarianism. Only a straw-munching fool would not believe that right now the 'government' have some over-educated flunky in a white overall in a lab, trying to work out how to screw us all into the ground with an 'Oxygen Consumption' tax.

  • Comment number 46.

    It never should have been introduced. Our local hospital is way out so no one could use the car park for shops or station but the charge is excessive. As a result the local golf club nearby has a slightly lower charge and makes a fortune. This idea of charging to visit your sick friends and relatives is wrong but I can't see this lot getting rid of it, there will probably be many more back door privatisation not less

  • Comment number 47.

    It is only if you have experienced a situation like I have when my daughter was seriously ill over a period of time and I had to race to A&E in the early hours of the morning - often with no change or even no money - to understand my hatred for the car parks. The last thing on my mind was to feed a car park machine. Fortunately my daughter survived but my pocket suffered to the benefit of APCOA. Abolish them like in Scotland and Wales.

  • Comment number 48.

    My husband shattered his wrist and had to have three ops and numerous outpatient visits lasting hours due to X rays, scans and over full waiting rooms. He works but is on a low income and does not get sick pay from his employers
    We were living on ssp of £102 a week with nothing else coming in and spending an average of £10 a week on hospital parking. Also I see a neurologist due to severe epilepsy and I always end up waiting hours usually ending up with a £5 plus parking fee. My last appointment was for 4.30 p.m. and I got out at 8.00 p.m. believe it or not hence a £5 parking ticket. All the side streets near the hospital are always overflowing no matter how early you get there so you cannot avoid these charges. I have to check my purse before I go to the hospital to check I have enough money for parking.
    My daughter is a nurse and she has to pay parking fees as well, its an absolute disgrace. Unlike half the tory bigwigs we don't have a cheuffeur to drop us off and take the car away. How many more condem policies are aimed at the sick and disabled.

  • Comment number 49.

    I was in hospital for 10 days when I had my baby. During this time my husband visited twice a day for a couple of hours each time. We spent over £60 in car parking charges and we got a free pass the day our baby was born. It's absolutely ridiculous. During my pregnancy I had to go to the hospital every other week and a rough estimate would be that I spent at least another £60. On one occasion my appointment took over 3 hours and I got ticketed, but after complaining I didn't have to pay as it wasn't my fault that I had to sit around for over 2 hours.

    I don't mind paying for car parking for occasional hospital appointments and to make occasional visits to acquaintances in hospital. But when you have to go there regularly, or when your partner/child is hospitalised, it would help to not have to pay, or at least get a reduced rate.

  • Comment number 50.

    It was a stealth tax under Labour and it appears that it will continue as a Tory stealth tax. Most people who visit hospitals have little choice about going there because some event has precipitated it. The hospitals are simply exploiting the system. Although, there are probably some hospitals that need to charge because they are in prime locations that mean the spaces are used by those going shopping.

    Personally I do not mind paying a city centre car parking charge for a one off visit, but I do feel its unfair when you have to visit on a regular basis.

    I would prefer a system under which you pay say £1 an hour (to deter abuse) but can pay £5 for a plastic card that allows you to park as much as you like for a month provided you validate the card each visit in a machine on the ward being visited.

  • Comment number 51.

    45. At 8:05pm on 16 Sep 2010, Withnail Xtreme wrote:
    Another black hole for our money to vanish down, courtesy of a failing NHS. You don't honestly believe this 'service' will be provided for our future benefit? Lining the pockets of the undeserved maybe.

    Yet another step towards totalitarianism. Only a straw-munching fool would not believe that right now the 'government' have some over-educated flunky in a white overall in a lab, trying to work out how to screw us all into the ground with an 'Oxygen Consumption' tax.
    //////////////////////////////////

    Steady on old chap! People will think you are paranoid!

  • Comment number 52.

    If the charges are not to be dropped entirely (and I am not saying that they should be given that they are a legitimate source of valuable income) then at least there should be fairness in how they are worked out. Having arrived 30 mins early for a recent appointment at the Royal United Hospital in Bath to allow for finding a space and the relevant department, I then found that the tariff was either up to 2 hours (too little time and £2.60) or up to 4 hrs (too much time and £3.70). The ticket is of course not even transferrable for someone else's benefit thereby generating extra income for the hospital for multiple use of the same space following my departure that I had already paid for. The same also applies of course to most public car parks all over the UK. Up to three hours would have been ideal and easily achievable by a simple cost-per-hour tariff but then I suspect that this is already known by those responsible for setting the charges and that the situation at Bath is deliberately engineered to achieve maximum profit at the expense of both common sense and fairness.

  • Comment number 53.

    Typical tories, attacking the most vulnerable (the sick and frail) in society.

    People do not go to hospital by choice, they have to because they are ill.

  • Comment number 54.

    Its a tax on being sick, pure and simple. I (and I am sure many others) have had to think twice about going to A&E simply for fear of racking up parking charges (local hospital is £2.50 - minimum - and escalates from there). NHS costs including car parking should be paid for out of all those National Insurance contributions that increase every time the government needs some more spare change. Otherwise scrap the NI, I'll pay for my own medical insurance, maybe then whatever needs doing will get done quicker as well.

  • Comment number 55.

    No, because the UK residents are the most shocking duckers and divers, so if the charges are abolished then the car parks will be flooded with people who work near parking their cars on hospital sites and going in to collect the 'tickets' etc. Any scam going the Brits go for it.

    My Dad died a few years ago and I live outside the UK and came home. My experience of his death was dominated by 'parking charges' for my suffering mother and the knowledge that you lot was scammin' it- as usual.

  • Comment number 56.

    So they can park their cars for free in Scotland and Wales and have free prescriptions but not here in England... well is that not divisory ???

    Be a nice starting point to have everyone treated AS EQUAL !!!

  • Comment number 57.

    Of course they should be free, but lets find out who in the Condems has money in the firms that control the car parking.
    The hospitals around me don't control the parking and only get a fraction of the money paid in fees.
    So someone in the government has realised that his golden goose was not laying and now it can.
    If I take my sons or wife to A&E because they are ill, I am not really in the mood to worry about trying to pay for parking as I want to see them get better.

  • Comment number 58.


    Definitely YES!

    It is a tax on the sick!

  • Comment number 59.

    If we have to pay, it should be much cheaper.

  • Comment number 60.


    From the little I have observed of politics recently in the news it seems that the Lib Dems have sold their soul and their principles to the devil for a bit of power and fame.

    Cutting the money of the most vulnerable, reassessing all benefit claimants, privatising the post office, raising state pension age???

    How about you liquidate and close all commercial banking and lending, nationalise a few banks and limit their interest rates on loans and mortgages to 5% and take all the money back from the bankers and fat cats who have been exploiting the masses for decades while people have been struggling to earn a living???

    How about taxing the banks and putting a cap on how much executives in britain can earn?

    Far less offensive than going for the weakest, this is like darwinian nazi type weeding the weakest elements out, something the Lib Dems are supposedly against.

  • Comment number 61.

    there should be no charges for hospital car parking, people go to hospital for a reason i.e being ill and for tests having a baby etc. we all pay enough for proscriptions and paying hospital parking is ridiculous! this matter has been going on for years and only gets swept under the carpet every time because no one wants to deal with it! its all about greed and getting money out of ill people, how much more lower can you get?!

  • Comment number 62.

    Of course parking charges should be abolished - as should every other stealth tax we have in this country.

    Let's have some open and honest policies for a change: if we need to raise revenue, raise taxes. Forget about all this "smoke and mirrors" nonsense to which we are currently subject.

  • Comment number 63.

    Hospital parking charges should stay and hopefully the revenue put to good use (bit of long shot that i know). People always abuse parking regulations everywhere. There'll always be some undeserving perfectly fit person parking in a disabled bay say. That's what happens, just predictable human selfish ,me ,me, me behaviour.
    Hospitals are always on bus routes so leave the car at home and do a bit of walking . Might burn off a few calories and save yourself a gastric band operation! Obviously patient dropping off and collection should be free for an hour say.

  • Comment number 64.

    I live in the USA and I don't pay any to park at a hospital. Now there is not a Social Insurance to take care of our bills and if one be indigent they are having to tug on the heart strings of those on staff. I have been disabled by this government since 1974 and pay Blue Cross & Blue Shield C+. I have Medicare too. It is a lot of money for me because I exist on Social Security Disability for my only source of income. I hope you understand I have to live in a country and this world where a radio implanted victim is discredited but every iota of genius is horded by the worlds governments although they know of this crime.

  • Comment number 65.

    Perhaps not, they do provide a source of income to the NHS. But they should not be as high as they sometimes are. Also, people visiting A&E should not have to pay. Getting news of a loved one being in an accident or something, then rushing to the hospital, it is wrong they have to try and find change, then the payment machine, before they go in to see their loved one.

    Also, clamping of over staying cars should be abolished. How often have we to the hospital for an appointment and had to wait way beyond the time, meaning the fee paid to park was insufficient.

    One of our local hospitals does haved a system where if you know you are going to be delayed, you notify reception and they ensure you are not penalised.

  • Comment number 66.

    Should hospital parking charges be dropped?
    My opinion is that they should be maintained.

  • Comment number 67.

    No charges at all for parking on hospital busines eg visiting, treatments etc. If an NHS trust needs to save money then get rid of the grossly overpaid, selfserving pompous senior and chief executives and administrators whose sole reason for being is to make life difficult for patients,visitors and the many well deserving doctors, nurses and ancillary staff.

  • Comment number 68.

    16. At 6:10pm on 16 Sep 2010, corum-populo-2010 wrote:
    The most disturbing aspect of car parking charges for inpatients and out patients in England, is that those charges are to be kept to subside free hospital parking in Scotland and Wales?

    Yes, I do hope my comment stirs up a hornets nest - because English patients in English hospitals are being discriminated against by this English Parliament, who have no powers over Scottish or Welsh Parliaments on this issue, but would, if they could?

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    There is no such thing as an English Parliament!! You mean the UK Parliament. If we English had our 'own' Parliament then we might actually have MPs looking after 'our' interests as a nation - maybe then we'd get free prescriptions, cancer treatment, tuition fees etc....?
    There's nothing very 'united' about this kingdom, where some countries are more equal than others.





  • Comment number 69.

    I can see the rationale for hospitals situated in town centres: they could easily see their car parks swamped by people not using the hospital if they did not charge.

    But here in Crewe, the hospital is a mile out of town, surrounded by farm fields. (Last time I walked out to it, a cow licked me!) They have no excuse for charging... except greed.

  • Comment number 70.

    I can just imagine what would happen if car parking was free, how many out patients would be unable to park and miss their appt time. Yes visitors are important but I am afraid not as important as patients (in or out). I suggest free parking for patients (in/out), reduced fees for visitors of long term patients (over 2 weeks admission) but full fee for all others. We can all put forward reasons why we deserve excemption from paying but it isnt going to happen.

  • Comment number 71.

    Whatever did we do before automobiles?

    Planning and public transport are two vital ingredients for hospitals. There are going to be visitors but isn't all that land diverted for car parking an waste of money, valuable money, money that could be poured into patient care? So charging is appropriate, because otherwise hospitals start losing money they cannot afford to lose.

    Public transport to the doors, and if you are actually going to or from hospital as a patient and cannot use public transport, there is an ambulance service.

    Have we really become so helpless, spoiled and irritated?

  • Comment number 72.

    The coaltion government denies the wounded soldier,home from the war free parking for his family and friends in England,makes a mockery of the heroic efforts of soldiers returns.The broad issues of British Affluence sunk in the grounds of N H S hospitals all over England,is not a very good picture of freedom ,democracy or of deserves to people and the armed forces in need.What hypocracy!It's time for the coalition government to surrenda to the wishes of all patients needs including free parking in hospitals.

  • Comment number 73.

    This revenue raiser for hospitals is obscene and taxes the very people who are forced to be there after all those who can afford private care never visit such places do they?.If you are in hospital anybody who visits is subjected to this tax as well even the actual staff who work there.
    Let the people VOTE on whether or not charges are justified dont leave it to politicians who get paid enough to go private.

  • Comment number 74.

    Duh. Yes.

  • Comment number 75.

    Look, these are modern times.

    Once,

    messengers, disciples, son of god, would preach for nothing, lifes moved on, now they charge £20, hence whats a couple of £ for parking a car to visit an ill or dieing relative.

    People should count themselves lucky that they are not charged each time they sneeze.

    Now theres a new money making opportnity!!!!

  • Comment number 76.

    "At 5:38pm on 16 Sep 2010, Lord Rant wrote:

    Parking space at hospital should be provided FREE of charge.
    Else ALL within the hospital should be subjected to the same charge . That would included employees of the hospital !!!"

    Every hospital I have ever worked at charges it's emlployees to park - it is taken direct from your wages and in every case it also results in a staff parking space which is a lot furhter from the hospital than those spaces reseved for members of the public. The charge is scaled proportional to your pay grade as well - the more you get paid, the more they charge you for the privilege of coming to work by car. No public transport option is viable for most nurses as our shift times do not fit nicely with public transport timetables (to get to work by bus I would have to get up at 4.30 am for a normal early shift start...).

    Parking charges for the most part are the result of the location of most major hospitals in convenient locations to the town center - free parking would result in abuse by non-hospital visitors. Increasing pressure to provide more parking for visitors means that most hospitals also need to charge for parking to fund further car park construction - the alternative is to divert funding from healthcare delivery to build car parks instead ("I'm sorry Mr. Smith, we can't quite afford your operation this year but when you do come you will be able to park in our lovely new multi-storey car park....").

    For those who are either unable to pay or have regular visit requirements, all the hospitals I have worked at have either free exemption passes or a scheme to refund travel costs for such individuals. It is important to differentiate between those who can't afford to pay and those who simply don't want to pay.

  • Comment number 77.

    I recently had to spend almost 6 weeks in hospital and my partner visited me every day. Each day it cost him almost £10 to park, which over the 6 weeks, added up to £420 (we are rural and there is no public transport available). This cost caused us definite stress over and above that from the hospitalisation itself.

    It is unreasonable to charge so much for parking in hospitals, in fact in our locality, the parking charges at the hospital are considerably more than town centre car parks. It is very stressful in any case to go though a long hospital stay and the added burden of more financial worry from extortionate parking charges is unacceptable.

  • Comment number 78.

    I don't mind paying car parking charges, as long as the rates are reasonable. Sadly, motorist visitors to hospitals are viewed as cash cows, therefore we are always going to see hiked up charges.
    My mother has just been diagnosed with cancer and I have been taking her to my local hospital on a regular basis, with visits likely to increase as treatment develops. Prices are manageable, with the first hour free. Not bad.

  • Comment number 79.

    53. At 9:54pm on 16 Sep 2010, thelevellers wrote:

    Typical tories, attacking the most vulnerable (the sick and frail) in society.
    People do not go to hospital by choice, they have to because they are ill.

    26. At 6:48pm on 16 Sep 2010, Its all Thatchers Fault wrote:

    Of course parking should be free.
    Any caring government would not be taxing the sick and infirm

    -------------------------------

    Interesting words but don't forget it was Labour who introduced these charges in the first place. ;-)

  • Comment number 80.

    Of course they should be dropped.

    But to ensure that only those needing parking for the hospital use the spaces suppose you collect a parking ticket at a barrier as you enter the car park. Upon arrival for your appointment the reception desk has an area to swipe tickets which will operate a barrier to let you out. Similarly visitors could swipe their cards at the nurses station on the wards.

    Anyone parking to use local shops, railway stations etc would have to pay a generous release fee.

  • Comment number 81.

    All that money spent on policing the Pope and his entourage would have covered the cost of hospital parking for years to come.

  • Comment number 82.

    "71. At 08:15am on 17 Sep 2010, holly_bush_berry wrote:
    Whatever did we do before automobiles?

    Planning and public transport are two vital ingredients for hospitals. There are going to be visitors but isn't all that land diverted for car parking an waste of money, valuable money, money that could be poured into patient care? So charging is appropriate, because otherwise hospitals start losing money they cannot afford to lose.

    Public transport to the doors, and if you are actually going to or from hospital as a patient and cannot use public transport, there is an ambulance service.

    Have we really become so helpless, spoiled and irritated?"




    Unfortunately a lot of the smaller more local hospitals were either closed or became specialised units. Travel to other hospitals even within the same borough, can be problematic on public transport, particuarly if you have an early morning appointment. If you work full-time and you are trying to fit a visit to a patient in, public transport may not be the answer.

    The ambulance service will take people to and from hospital. However, you may well wait hours as they hang around for other patients. Your appointment which would have involved, say, two hours including driving, seeing doctor, driving home, can turn into the best part of a day.

  • Comment number 83.

    I have no objections to everyone paying a nominal charge e.g. 50p per day except those who are going through long term treatment, although I don't know if policing this would make it financially viable........ The money obtained from these charges could them be used to maintain the car parks rather than coming directly from the NHS budget.

  • Comment number 84.

    Absolutely, especially for out patients. There needs to be a way to stop people who are not visiting the hospital from parking there, but the hospital car parks are very expensive and the last thing you should expect to have to do when you are visiting a sick friend or relative is pay for parking. It is a disgrace. Drop the charges.

  • Comment number 85.

    There are several sides to this argument:

    - hospitals often have very limited parking - the annoying thing is that this doesn't just apply to old hospitals, but even brand new ones have nowhere near enough parking.

    - Because of that, car parking fees often mean that you are more likely to find a space if you need one (and can afford it)

    - Clamping should be banned, unless the hospital can unclamp the car immediately once the normal car park fee is paid (someone may have had to run into the hospital because a loved one is on their deathbed)

    - Car parks do cost money to maintain

    - If the parking was free, people would use it for other needs - validating tickets on going to an appointment would help with this

    - People needing regular treatment are punished. Really they should get free parking for all their appointments.


    One way that would help (looking ahead) is, rather than building new hospitals near the centre of towns (as happened near here recently), build them in the middle of nowhere (as they do for out-of-town shopping). There's no real need to have them in centres of population. Having them away from anywhere would let them build loads of cheap parking spaces, AND people would have no desire to park there and go shopping.

    (At a new hospital near here, as well as the cost of the hospital, they must have spent a fortune setting up and managing a 'permit holders only' parking system for about a mile around so that residential streets aren't full of patients' cars)

  • Comment number 86.

    Parking should be free for regular out-patients only. Free parking for in-patients makes no sense. Visitors should pay.

    If the parking is free, or low cost, to all then if the hospital is conveniently located shoppers and others who have no business parking there will, and do, abuse the facility.

  • Comment number 87.

    There should be a maximum charge of £5. Once in a hospital you can stay there for 10 hours. The delay is not the patient's fault.

    Maybe visitors should pay and patients (especially regular ones)should park free. The hospital could enclose a special sticker valid for the day of the appointment when sending the appointment.

  • Comment number 88.

    Paying NHS services car parking charges was essentially the FIRST step of privatisation of NHS.

    Supposed to be FREE at the point of receiving but carparks are just basically used for squeezing MORE money out of people, ESSENIALLY the ILL, and those near deaths door and also their visitors.

    Carpark charges can be refunded, if you are prepared to queue like cattle waiting for milking, if you have a "WRONG" time appointment or visit, then your life is so worthless that you can queue for more than an hour.
    If you dont have a particular piece of proof, evidence to support your claim, just forget it.

    Many many people on benefits and low incomes also have to apply to social security offices for this bit of proof once a month, which the COSTS of providing such a service per APPLICANT person, ACTUALLY COST MORE THAN THE AVERAGE CAR PARK CHARGE and which if JUST this amount of money was SAVED it could be GIVEN to hospitals to help cover costs of maintaining carparks.

    Lets also get another point clear. The businesses who supply staff for carparks, do so to make PROFIT.

    Hence if your child has an accident or a frail relative has a fall, just for you turning up at a hospital and parking your car to enable treatment, will COST you money of which someone, somewhere will profit and you will be thus relatively contributing to their polluting Mercedes or Range Rover or other exec car.

    Theres NOTHING wrong with businesses making profits, but to do it in such a way as to specifically target the ill and dieing, is a TOTAL immoral outrage, TOTALLY unjustified.

    The WHOLE point of the NHS is to provide services free at point of receiving, car park charges are just a pretentious, deceitful way of circumventing the VERY principles of the UKs health service.

    Next thing, a messenger/spokesperson of/for god will be charging £20.00 to see/hear them and they will NOT even provide any fishes or loaves of bread for weary travellers!!!

  • Comment number 89.

    "46. At 8:33pm on 16 Sep 2010, Lucy Clake wrote:
    It never should have been introduced. Our local hospital is way out so no one could use the car park for shops or station but the charge is excessive. As a result the local golf club nearby has a slightly lower charge and makes a fortune. This idea of charging to visit your sick friends and relatives is wrong but I can't see this lot getting rid of it, there will probably be many more back door privatisation not less."

    I've lived in many towns over the years in the UK and one of which had a 'way out' of town hospital with reasonably large grounds and with a couple of hundred parking spaces (which were originally free). Then the town council and private bus company working together introduced a park-and-ride scheme for the town while simultaneously closing the town centre car parks.

    Consequently lots of visitors would park in the hospital and use the free bus to get into the city centre to avoid the park-and-ride charges. To avoid a £2 a day charge people were more than happy to park their cars all day in a hospital car park, taking up parking spaces and abusing the free bus intended for visitors to the hospital.

    The Trust was forced to introduce nominal parking charges (exceeding the park-and-ride cost) after receiving hundreds of complaints from patients who had been unable to park within the hospital car parks.

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Another town I lived in had a hospital right in the centre of a middle class housing estate, which was reasonably crowded but with barely enough on-street parking for one car per household. Many households owned multiple cars and hospital visitors and staff would use the side streets for parking because the hospital's own facilities were woefully inadequate.

    Residents complained to the council about the volume of cars parking outside their homes on 'their road' and residents' only parking was promptly introduced on most of the nearby streets - making staff and visitors try to use the hospital facilities despite there being nowhere near enough space. Unfortunately it soon transpired that residents' only parking wasn't free, costing £30, £150 and £500 annually for the first, second and third cars registered to a property (I may be a little wrong on the costs as it was a few years ago, but the charges for multiple cars were punitive).

    The council then found that very few houses registered a second car, choosing instead to park 'overnight' for free at the hospital which was within easy walking distance. Often cars would be left in place for the entire weekend which became a problem when many weekend visitors or staff were unable to park within a mile of the hospital.

    To 'solve' the problem the Trust introduced parking charges for visitors and staff primarily to discourage local residents from abusing the free (and CCTV protected) facilites graciously provided by the taxpayer. There was significant investment in enforcing the charges because the Trust was a very busy acute hospital with hundreds of outpatient visitors a day.

    It's unfair, but what else can be done to ensure that there is at least some capacity for patients and visitors?

    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    I now work near a city centre Acute Trust which is right next to a popular shopping centre. There are plenty of NCP and council car parks, and several dozen bus routes pass the hospital (indeed the bus station is very close). But before parking charges were introduced in the Trust's many car parks most were completely full before 8am because they were used by hospital staff, staff from local shops and offices and people just wanting to go shopping on the cheap.

    To deter those who didn't need to park near the hosptial parking charges were introduced, and the local press demonised the Trust for it - the local paper had previously (and perversely) run stories about how to visit certain attractions in the city for free with a neat little map showing all the 'free' car parks which included the Trust's car parks.

    The sheer size of the parking facility provided cost the Trust hundreds of thousands of pounds each year to maintain (clean and repair, maintain lifts etc.) when most people using weren't even NHS 'customers'.

    Is it fair to have the health service pay for car parks for city centre visitors? Or should those visitors pay themselves?

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    The whole issue of free parking will whilst understandably emotive isn't something that can be rationally discussed with some people. Calling it a 'tax' on the unwell doesn't help, because in many instances (people on low incomes, on certain benefits, elderly) can reclaim the charges and others have free transport options to get to the hospital (free hospital bus, dial-a-ride council services, taxi tokens) although these may not necessarily be very convenient.

    Be assured that those with 'free' parking now will not see it continue for long as budgets are squeezed and belts are tightened. Unfortunately now parking may become an important income stream to plug holes caused by budget cuts.

  • Comment number 90.

    Lots of posts on here (quite rightly) laying into hospitals for "cashing in" on parking charges for patients, visitors AND STAFF (easy to forget this group isn't it?) Yet hospitals covered by PFI frequently have their car parking run by private firms. I wonder if we will be exposed to the same level of bile for these organisations, who frequently charge MORE than hospital who run their own parking? I won't hold my breath.

  • Comment number 91.

    What I find wholely unexceptable is the fact we are supposed to have a NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE.

    This being the case why are only the English paying for parking.

    Its simple, either we ALL pay parking, or nobody pays for parking.

    If the Hospital is in a "town" where people would use it for all day parking simply introduce a system where the 1st hour is free (if showing a ticket) and longer stays become payable.

    My wife is a Midwife and she is now having to pay £240 per year to park - this too is a bit outrageous because being on shifts means that having a car is essential to get to work!

  • Comment number 92.

    It is right that people who are sick/dying, their visitors and their health practitioners shouldn't have to pay to visit/stay in hospital.

    Having said that, the currrent scheme probably makes too much money for Con-Libs to scrap it. Also, can you imagine how ridiculous it would be to have clinical support staff and nurses validate your parking after you leave a chemotherapy/visitor's session?! Hospital staff have enough paperwork to deal with, and implementation and evaluation of a new system would only cost more time and money. What a shame...

  • Comment number 93.

    #82 ruffled_feathers

    I am not, for one moment, saying there is a one size fits all solution, but I am saying we are our own worse enemies.

    Stress is recognised as the biggest of all the factors impacting on human health. Cars speed up capacity to utilise time, sometimes. At other times they simply add to frustration and build up stress. Just when you do not want cars, you find a whole multitude of them all trying to get from one tiny passageway to another tiny passageway. If all those cars are eliminated we can move freely, stress free.

    So we cram too much in. Not just to our hospital car parks, to our towns, cities, countries, but to our lives. And so, as a consequence, we need bigger hospitals, bigger car parks, more cars, more frustration and more stress. It is an ugly vicious circle.

    The virtue of a comprehensive, reliable, and cheap public transport service is that there are fewer cars; life on a bus or train doesn't need to be stressful at all, but it does mean we invest our pounds and pence in proper public transport. Not privatised large taxis that may run or may not as the case may be. We think 'service' because that is what WE are paying for.

    When cars became the must have convenience we made a colossal mistake, one we are paying for right now and will be for some time to come.

  • Comment number 94.

    The trouble with our society today is that everything costs money but everybody wants something for nothing.

    Most people in hospital continue to receive their pay or pension yet are provided with food. Why shouldn't they make a small contribution to the cost of it based on savings at home? The welfare state has got to the point where something has to give. We are living beyond our means.

    If Welsh & Scottish hospitals provide free parking who is in effect paying for this loss of income? I suspect it is the English taxpayer!

    It is no use screaming that it hits the ill and vulnerable. Get real, folks we live in difficult times.

  • Comment number 95.

    Surely this is just a symptom of a much bigger problem? Where are the public transport links, which are cheap, convenient, regular, safe, and reliable? Not there I'm afraid. Privatised long ago, and no interest from ANY government (you had THIRTEEN YEARS, Labour) in changing this or improving the situation (at least for those areas outside the Capital.) We now use the car to get everywhere because we have little other choice. Never mind the fact that our cities and infrastructure are not designed for it. It seems we, as a nation too small and densely populated to support a car dependant culture are now paying the price for importing said culture from a nation which has the space to support it.

    We’ve made our bed, folks. Time to lay in it.

  • Comment number 96.

    82. At 09:47am on 17 Sep 2010, ruffled_feathers wrote:
    "71. At 08:15am on 17 Sep 2010, holly_bush_berry wrote:
    Whatever did we do before automobiles?

    Planning and public transport are two vital ingredients for hospitals. There are going to be visitors but isn't all that land diverted for car parking an waste of money, valuable money, money that could be poured into patient care? So charging is appropriate, because otherwise hospitals start losing money they cannot afford to lose.

    Public transport to the doors, and if you are actually going to or from hospital as a patient and cannot use public transport, there is an ambulance service.

    Have we really become so helpless, spoiled and irritated?"

    ====================================

    Before automobiles, more people used to die and suffer from even the most MINOR of ailments.

    Before automobiles, the health and wellbeing of this nation was ATTROCIOUS.

    Hospitals do NOT LOSE MONEY. They are actually provided with TAXPAYERS MONEY to provide health services FREE at point of USE. Carparking is an ESSENTIAL part of the OVERALL service hospitals provide.

    Lets not forget that the NHS also gets short of money because it provides treatments and services which are NOT absolutley necessary and which deal with VAINNESS.

    Since when was providing breast implants or sex change operations a necessity of life, or many other treatments,( for numbnuts, I do actually exclude necessary treatments for breast cancer and other FACTUAL illnesses/health issues, so get back in your pram).

    Thing is, if I went to a bank and said, "I'm depressed and I dont have any confidence because I cannot afford epensive trainers and jeans and gold jewelry, give me some money so I have better confidence", I am sure I would get just one response and even the BEST bank manager might include some colourful descriptive wording in reply.

    The NHS has expanded FAR BEYOND that which it was conceived for. It does things, JUST BECAUSE IT CAN, just because some new treatment/surgery has been invented, NOT because its use is of such ESSENTIAL and IMPORTANCE to the health and wellbeing of citizens of this nation.

    Some say to use public transport and not cars/carparks.

    Public transport is in itself a health hazard, it is ALSO a SEVERE THREAT to the health and wellbeing of hospital patients via CROSS INFECTION, people who have undergone treatments/operations and are at MUCH MUCH HIGHER RISK of SERIOUS COMPLICATIONS due to cross infections of health issues of even commonly MINOR general significance to healthy people.

    People coughing and sneezing spreading their germs and viruses etc, then lets remember that in general over 70% of people do NOT wash their hands after using toilets (my own observations). Luvely, if you eat a packet of crisps on a bus after touching hand rails etc, you might as well eat peanuts in a pub kept in a bowl immediately by the doors to the toilets.

    Those who think public transport is a remedy to so much, are just IGNORANT of facts and REALITY.

    Have you NEVER heard of the scientific reasoning that for EVERY positive there is a NEGATIVE. Yes carparking has its NEGATIVES, BUT, it ALSO has its POSITIVES, which in FACT are MORE important than its negatives.

    In reply/response to the above other HYSers comment- BEFORE AUTOMOBILES, PEOPLE USED TO DIE EN-MASS in comparison to today, does that answer your question.

  • Comment number 97.

    It's a national disgrace that there is a charge for parking at any hospital. As a good proportion of the parking areas are now controlled by private companies it's yet another example of people in high places taking every opportunity to screw people, but screwing the sick, their family and friends is deplorable.

    This will be my last contribution to HYS. I find it pointless making honest comments when the moderators have a biased agenda. A message to the BBC, GET YOUR MODERATORS SORTED OUT, and get back to the original format, it's a load of tosh in it's present form. Goodbye all.

  • Comment number 98.

    My wife's hospital charges around £600 per year for staff to park. OK if you are a consultant with a Harley street side line but outrageous for a nurse!

  • Comment number 99.

    Highly recommend post #80 @ 9:41am on 17 Sept - 'ruffled_feathers'.

    The technology is simple and cheap with a simple APNR - to block the usual idiots who attempt to 'play' the system that cost, in multiple sly ways, that cause everyone else with a genuine patient need and patient visitors a bad name?

    No extra work or distractions for nurses, doctors and every other genuine hospital worker with a job to do in front-line patient care.

  • Comment number 100.

    All financial considerations aside, it's morally wrong to charge a fee for hospital car-parking.
    If abuse of the system is a concern, simply have the tickets validated inside the hospital, to prove that the facilities are being used by genuine patients, visitors, or staff.

 

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