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Hospital parking should be free – MP


HOSPITAL car parking should be free – paid for by a tax on healthcare insurance.

That’s the view of Warrington North MP Helen Jones after discovering that the Government does not know what proportion of each NHS Trust’s income came from parking charges.

She said: “ It is outrageous that the minister does not know how much each NHS Trust makes from car parking charges and how reliant our hospitals are on this income source, given that they are so cash strapped as a result of government policy.”

Ms Jones had asked a number of written questions in Parliament and was told the figures for the income gained from NHS parking charges
were not collected centrally. The average fee charged per hour for patients and visitors at NHS Trusts was £1.32 per hour and for staff 19p per hour.

She said Warrington Hospital charges £2.50 for up to two hours and £3.50 for up to 4 hours – with the first 30 minutes free.

The minister made clear that the provision of parking spaces and the level of any charges made to use them are matters for individual NHS Trusts, taking into account operational circumstances and community interests. The NHS itself is responsible for ensuring that charges are fairly applied.

An angry Ms Jones said: “The Secretary of State for Health recently stated that patients and families shouldn’t have to deal with the added stress of unfair parking charges. How can he possibly do anything about it when he doesn’t know the scale of the problem and is leaving the decisions of how fair the charges are to the NHS itself? It is an abdication of his responsibilities.”


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  1. I have a question for an ‘outraged’ and ’angry Helen’ too. Hospital car parking fees have been with us for years, so why only now choose to raise the issue? Twenty years in the hot seat and all of a sudden it’s a problem. You had ample time to raise this between 1997 and 2010 but you chose not to do so presumably as you did not wish to embarrass a Labour colleague and health minister. But why not raise it post 2010? This seems entirely like the Warburton Bridge tolls story the other week. Suddenly raising a decade’s long issue that you have ignored previously because a colleague was sat in the responsible post. By the way next month is Jazz appreciation month (JAM) which is intended to stimulate the current jazz scene and encourage people of all ages to participate in jazz – to study the music, attend concerts, listen to jazz on radio and recordings, read books about jazz, and more. So can angry Helen please call upon the government to be more vocal in recognising this great initiave and whilst she’s there, possibly wear a Gregory Porter style hat for the duration to raise awareness?

  2. I do not have a problem with the hospital charging for parking, what I do have a problem with is it being run by a private parking company who’s only goal in life is ripping as many people off as possible when they are at their most vulnerable, I believe parking should be run in house and all profits used for the benefit of the hospital either directly or via the WRVS or the league of friends. It is rather sad that you should be more worried about parking charges than the actual reason you may have for going to the hospital in the first place

    • I understand the actual parking charges go to the hospital or the NHS Trust and the company administering the scheme covers its costs and makes its money from the penalty charges it levies against motorists who fall foul of the timed periods of parking. This might give clue to why they are over zealous in chasing up the penalties.

  3. To be honest I don’t mind paying to park there as ‘touch wood’ we only usually have to go to take the mother-in-law to hospital appointments about 6 times a year and they are usually fairly quick visits so with the new parking charge rates based on time spent there it doesn’t cost a lot. We usually pay on the way out so we know which payment band we have fallen into.
    I do feel that more needs to be done to reduce the fees for people who have to go more often or who are visiting family/friends who have been admitted to hospital. When my mum was in there for a period of time we all used to go visiting every day at different times so she had us there with her. That was before the ANPR cameras though and when you used to just stick the ‘paid for’ ticket on your windscreen. We sussed it and the first of us to visit bought the maximum stay ticket for the day and then, if we could, we passed it on to the next family member who was going that day for their parking. Over the weeks it still cost us a lot though but when you have a loved one seriously ill in hospital parking charges become somewhat irrelevant at the time 🙁
    Maybe rather than the suggestion of making it free parking (which would lead to everyone parking there who wants to nip into town) the MP could look into having the rules changed for frequent visit patients or those with family in longer for longer periods.
    Maybe they could issue some sort of visible sticker to put in your car windscreen which the ANPR cameras could read giving those people FREE parking for a set period of days/weeks/months etc.

    There should be some leeway given to people attending A&E too as I’ve been in the situation in the past where we have had to rush there only to then realise we have had no money to pay to park. With the old system you could just tell the person on the A&E desk and give your car reg…can you still do this with the ANPR system ?

    • I agree with you Dizzy on the need for Warrington Hospital to sympathetically adjust parking charges for circumstances involving extensive visiting of seriously or terminally ill patients or when patients require long term in hospital care, or frequent attendance for out patient treatment. Other hospitals have reportedly addressed these situations, there is no reason for our hospital failing to do so. That they have not, it seems, is due to the manner in which the out sourced parking is administered and policed, and how that sourced company recovers its overheads and profit. That arrangement appears to have little room for sympathetic considerations.

  4. Hmmmmm. This is interesting. Hardly any comments on most stories on WW recently. Until this one and curiously following what I have chosen to say. Looks like my comments seem to encourage others. Noted though that Dizzy has had a pop at the Warrington South MP on another story and so I wonder what his motivations are?. I have always been clear on mine. So is Faisal your MP Dizzy? Again I’m curious about this.

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