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NHS car parking savings 'pass £13m'

image captionNinewells in Dundee is one of three hospitals where parking charges still apply

Patients and NHS staff have saved some £13m since hospital car parking charges were abolished more than four years ago, the Scottish Government says.

Parking has been free for patients, visitors and staff at most Scottish hospitals since 31 December 2008.

But charges remain at car parks built under the private finance initiative (PFI) at three hospitals in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee.

Ministers said families had been put under an "unneeded financial burden".

The savings figure was based on the amount of cash collected in the 12 months before fees were abolished, when they were capped at £3 a day.

Health Secretary Alex Neil said: "In Scotland, we are sticking by the founding principles of the NHS - we want services that are free for everyone, not out to make profits.

"That's why I am glad to see that getting rid of hospital car parking charges has saved patients and staff so much money over the last four years.

"Charging to park at hospital was an unneeded financial burden on families and those needing treatment at a difficult time."

Mr Neil added: "I would like to be able to abolish charging at the three PFI car parks too but, unfortunately, these boards are locked into long-term contracts with operators.

"That is why this government is committed to new models of funding which mean that the private sector can't make excessive profits at the taxpayers' expense."

The three car parks which still have charges are based at Ninewells in Dundee, Glasgow Royal Infirmary and the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

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