Trust re­ceives healthy £1.6m from a year of park­ing at hos­pi­tals

Pa­tients, vis­i­tors and staff sub­sidise ‘pro­vi­sion, main­te­nance, im­prove­ment and safety in car parks’ as trusts cash in na­tion­wide

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - by Tom Her­bert tom.her­bert@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @TRHer­bert

NHS hos­pi­tals in Bucks have made more than £1.6 mil­lion from park­ing charges in a sin­gle year.

The data, col­lected through Free­dom of In­for­ma­tion re­quests, re­vealed that hos­pi­tals through­out the coun­try racked up around £160m from charges in 2015/16 –a 5% in­crease on the pre­vi­ous year.

Buck­ing­hamshire Health­care NHS Trust, which net­ted £1,610,490, runs Wy­combe, Stoke Man­dev­ille, Amer­sham, Mar­low, Chal­fonts and Ger­rards Cross, Thame, Buck­ing­ham and Wa­ter­side com­mu­nity hos­pi­tals.

Some 120 NHS trusts were con­tacted re­gard­ing their park­ing in­come with 89 re­spond­ing and, ac­cord­ing to the Mir­ror, if all 120 had an­swered the to­tal fig­ure would be around £160m.

The data also re­veals al­most half of all NHS trusts charge dis­abled peo­ple for park­ing in some or all dis­abled spa­ces.

Heart of Eng­land NHS Foun­da­tion Trust topped the ta­ble when it came to park­ing in­come, mak­ing £4,841,108 over the year. Pa­tients and vis­i­tors paid £3,465,357, and a fur­ther £1,375,751 was made from staff.

Hilling­don Hos­pi­tals NHS Foun­da­tion Trust raised £1,641,232 in 2015/16. In to­tal, £1,341,844 was coughed up by pa­tients and vis­i­tors, while staff paid £299,388.

The over­all Bucks fig­ure in­cludes both staff and pa­tients/vis­i­tors.

Kather­ine Mur­phy, of the Pa­tients As­so­ci­a­tion char­ity, said the ‘sick and vul­ner­a­ble’ were shoul­der­ing the charges to com­bat NHS un­der­fund­ing.

She main­tained park­ing charges should not be used like this, say­ing they were a bur­den on the sick, and she called for the scrap­ping of car park­ing fees, adding it ‘makes pa­tients question the val­ues of the peo­ple lead­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion’.

A spokesman for Buck­ing­hamshire Health­care NHS Trust, said: “As with any or­gan­i­sa­tion based in or near large town cen­tres, en­sur­ing we pro­vide suf­fi­cient park­ing for staff, pa­tients and hos­pi­tal vis­i­tors is al­ways a del­i­cate bal­anc­ing act.

“We make ev­ery ef­fort to en­sure charges re­main rea­son­able, fair and com­pet­i­tive with those of nearby car park fa­cil­i­ties, and in line with na­tional guid­ance.

“The in­come re­ceived from park­ing fees is re-in­vested di­rectly into the pro­vi­sion, mainte- nance, im­prove­ment and safety of our car parks.

“We have a range of con­ces­sions for pa­tients and vis­i­tors. These in­clude 20-minute dropoff bays, free park­ing for blue badge hold­ers and there are re­duc­tions avail­able for pa­tients and vis­i­tors who need to visit the hos­pi­tal on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

“Free trans­port is also pro­vided to pa­tients who re­quire it.”

Pay­ing to park: Amer­sham Hos­pi­tal (above) and Stoke Man­dev­ille Hos­pi­tal (in­set) are run by Buck­ing­hamshire Health­care NHS Trust

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