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Lib Dems lash out at government as hospital car parking fee soars by 50% in a year

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Visitors and patients are forced to fork out an estimated £400,000 on car parking every day in England

Parking a car at hospitals in England can cost up to £3.60 an hour, according to data first uncovered by the Liberal Democrats.

Visitors and patients were forced to spend £146m for parking in 2022/23, which is equivalent to £400,000 every day, Mirror reported citing official data.

Analysis of NHS England figures revealed a massive 50 per cent rise from £96.7m a year earlier, and triple the figures from two years ago.

Hospital staff paid £46.7m for car parking in 2022/23, more than eight times compared to the previous year, from £5.6m in 2021/22. The increase came after parking charges were reintroduced in March after the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Lib Dems have criticised the government for “failing to deliver” on their manifesto pledge to end unfair parking charges.

“Hospital car parking fees are becoming a tax on caring for visitors and our hard-working NHS staff,” the party’s health and social care spokeswoman Daisy Cooper was quoted as saying in the report.

She has warned that local health services will be forced to “make more impossible choices in the years ahead”, if they are not funded properly.

As per official data, the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust earned £5.2million from the public and £2.8million from staff last year, by charging £3.60 to park for up to an hour.

It made the highest income from parking, and was among 64 NHS trusts raked in more than £1million from car parking.

Meanwhile, Patricia Marquis, the Royal College of Nursing’s director for England, has urged the government and the NHS to reconsider parking fees for nursing staff and support workers, as it is “too much of their low wage.”

“Government and the NHS must rethink – leaving nursing staff out of pocket just for doing their jobs is wholly unfair. Ministers need to invest in nursing, otherwise even more will leave this brilliant profession – and it will be patients who ultimately pay the price,” she said, as quoted by Mirror.

The NHS guidance, which was updated in March 2022, made car parking free for disabled people, frequent outpatient attenders, parents of sick children staying overnight and staff working night shifts. NHS Trusts can decide fees “reasonable for the area” on a voluntary basis.

 

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