Concern at Durham hospital parking rise

Image caption, The hospital said parking fees supported frontline services

Minimum parking charges for patients and visitors at a Durham hospital are to rise.

The cheapest ticket at the University Hospital of North Durham was 90p for up an hour but is now £2.50 for two hours.

The Patients Association said the charge was excessive and was particularly affecting those who parked for short periods.

The hospital said income from parking supported frontline services and there were drop-off bays and concessions.

Drop-off bays

Mike Smith, from the Patients Association, accepted car parks had to be controlled and costs covered but said he believed the rise was unfair.

He said: "If you happen to have to go to hospital a lot or you are popping in just to see somebody for 10 minutes and you are paying for what would be a couple of hours parking it does seem as though they haven't done their admin properly and could think more about it."

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said: "The extra income from car parking comes directly to the trust and helps to support frontline services.

"Drop-off bays are in place which facilitate free parking up to 20 minutes, and there are also concessions available for certain categories of patients and visitors."

It also said it had reduced longer stay parking.

Previously, anyone staying more than four hours paid £7 but now it costs £4 to park between three and 24 hours.

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