Some NHS trusts have doubled the cost of a stay for patients and visitors.
At Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, in West Yorks, four to 24 hours cost £8 in 2017/18, up from £3.50 the year before.
The trust made £1,287,322 from parking in 2017/18. At Shrewsbury and Telford it used to be £3.50 for five to 24 hours but is now £8.
The Royal Surrey County Hospital, in Guildford, charges £4 for an hour’s stay, the most expensive in the country.
Hereford County Hospital and North Bristol NHS Trust are next, at £3.50.
The Sun backed a campaign by Rob Halfon MP to scrap the parking charges which he called a sickness “stealth tax”. But in February then-Health Minister Steve Barclay claimed scrapping them could have “unintended consequences”.
A total of 124 NHS trusts responded to the Press Association’s Freedom of Information request for data on parking charges.
Of these, 53 (43 per cent) had increased prices for visitors, staff or both.
NHS trusts made £226million in 2017/18 from parking. Shadow Health Secretary Jon Ashworth said: “These charges are a tax on the sick.
“The next Labour government will axe them.”
Unison’s Sara Gorton said: “If the Government put more money into the health service, charges could be scrapped.”
The Department of Health said: “NHS trusts are responsible for ensuring revenue goes back into frontline services.”
The Sun Says
Some may argue that they need to charge something, if only to stop shoppers and commuters nicking the spaces.
But the fees are extortionately more than is necessary to act as a deterrent.
Every year, the Government makes the right noises about the need to slash fees . . . and every year nothing happens and they rise even further.
Hospital patients and their families should not be clobbered for being sick.
What’s more, it means low-paid NHS staff, many unable to rely on public transport as they work anti-social hours, are being fleeced by their own bosses.
How can that be right?
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