latest health care news

01.02.18

NHS ‘would have to find £200m’ if hospital parking charges are abolished

If hospital car parking charges were wholly abolished, trusts would be forced to source almost £200m of funding from elsewhere – likely meaning they would have to dip into the “already scarce” health service budget, NHS Providers has said today.

Ahead of this afternoon’s Commons debate on the most efficient way of abolishing car parking charges, NHS Providers director of policy and strategy and deputy CEO, who sits on NHE’s Editorial Board, said the issue was more complex than it seems.

She explained that variation in the costs to patients in different areas is a result of not all NHS trusts owning their own car parks, as well as trusts setting their own parking policies.

Whilst this can be frustrating for patients, Cordery said that trusts do their best to minimise the charges incurred by patients – such as by offering concessions for people with disabilities or those receiving ongoing treatment such as chemotherapy, or even charging patients a set amount if they are in hospital for a day or more.

However, NHS trusts do have to pass on some costs in order to run and maintain the car parks, she argued.

“The revenue generated is mainly used to maintain these facilities, with any surpluses reinvested in care for patients,” noted Cordery.

“If car parking charges were to be abolished it would mean nearly £200m of funding would need to be found from elsewhere – either from within already scarce NHS sources or through an increase in the NHS budget,” she added.

Cordery also pointed out that NHS trusts are often located close to town centres, where there is a risk that members of the public who are not using health services could use the parking space if parking charges are abolished.

A Bill to abolish cark parking charges has been introduced late last year as a Private Member’s Bill and will have its second reading in the Commons on 16 March.

Despite NHS Providers’ warnings, several MPs back the bill’s calls for abolition, with many branding it a “tax on sickness.” Harlow MP Robert Halfon, who secured the debate on the issue, said the charges are “unjust and immoral.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is also against the charge, which he promised to bring to an end in his General Election manifesto. He has argued that the charge should instead be funded by central government, rather than plugged by raiding existing NHS budgets.

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Comments

Mr Okxmyxx   02/02/2018 at 12:21

To say that the NHS would loose £200 million pa is misleading and would only be true if all hospital parking was administrated by the NHS itself. Parking at my local hospital is run by a private parking company who use a number plate recognitions system to clock all vehicles entering the grounds. Clearly they are not doing this for free and whilst I do not know how much, if anything, they are handing back to the NHS, it is another example of private companies taking easy profits from public services. If the government were to ban the DVLA from providing registered keeper information to anyone other than the police and local authorities, these parasitic businesses would collapse over night and might not be so keen to continue their local arrangements.

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