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Something for nothing?

Betsan Powys | 15:10 UK time, Monday, 3 March 2008

Who said this?

"I think there are better things you can do with your money to target people who need it most"?

It was UK Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, on the Welsh Assembly Government's decision to scrap prescription charges from April 2007.

What about today's decision to scrap hospital car parking charges by 2011?

A press officer at the Department of Health is either extremely unimpressed, or fed up with the number of phone calls he's been fielding today:

"We have no plans of forcing hospitals in England to subsidise their car parks with resources that could be used to improve and speed up patient care. It would also be contrary to the Government's climate change objectives."

Ouch.

How much of the £5.5 million raised by car parking charges goes into patient care? According to the NHS Confederation 'some of it' is channelled into wider health care and given NHS trusts are now expected to come up with something for nothing, there may have to be some cutbacks and 'financial adjustments' to other services.

"Ill-considered populism" say the Liberal Democrats.

"New NHS apartheid" shouts the Daily Mail.

"Sour grapes" says the Welsh Health Minister, Edwina Hart. "The Department of Health are probably getting flack because they haven't thought enough about this themselves". And the NHS Confederation's concerns? "This amounts to 0.17% of trust budgets - miniscule amounts of money. People should remember who elected us. And wasn't it the NHS Confederation who negotiated those GP contracts? I rest my case!"

The scalpels are out.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 05:53 PM on 03 Mar 2008,
  • dowlais twp wrote:

Why should trusts charge patients and staff for car parking.
I manage a GP surgery, if I introduced parking fees I would be crucified by patients, staff and the media.
I have to manage the car park maintenance under existing funding

  • 2.
  • At 10:31 PM on 03 Mar 2008,
  • Graham Craig wrote:

"We have no plans of forcing hospitals in England to subsidise their car parks with resources that could be used to improve and speed up patient care. It would also be contrary to the Government's climate change objectives."

Are those the same climate change objectives that have been so carefully taken into consideration in laying the LPG pipeline from Milford Haven through the Brecon Beacons to Gloucestershire? In opening one of Europe's largest open-cast mines at Ffos-y-fran to partly fuel the "£20 billion of new coal-fired power stations planned to be built in the UK before 2020″?
(Quote from Department of Trade and Industry, 14th November 2006. First Meeting of the UK Coal Forum. http://www.berr.gov.uk/files/file37293.pdf%29

Re. Graham Craig's comments - couldn't have said it better myself...

www.thebigwelshgasproject.blogspot.com

  • 4.
  • At 11:24 AM on 04 Mar 2008,
  • T Banner wrote:

Just another gimmick. Free hospital car parking and free prescriptions, at the expense of longer waiting times and waiting lists than those experienced the other side of Offa’s Dyke may not be the most sensible or popular option in the long term.

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