Hos­pi­tal park­ing cost to in­crease next month

Hinckley Times - - NEWS - CATHY BUSS hinck­ley­times@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

PA­TIENTS are fac­ing an in­crease in car park­ing charges at Le­ices­ter’s three hos­pi­tals from the start of Oc­to­ber.

Bosses are plan­ning to in­crease fees by around 10 per cent from Oc­to­ber 2. They say the in­crease, the first since 2011, is needed due to in­creased pres­sure on NHS bud­gets.

But the idea has been branded a “hos­pi­tal tax” by one MP and deputy city mayor, Coun­cil­lor Rory Palmer, said he is “very con­cerned” about the in­crease.

The pro­pos­als put for­ward would see the charge for two hour park­ing go from £2.50 to £2.80.

For four hours it would in­crease from £4 to £4.40; for 12 hours prices will go from £10 to £11 and for 24 hours the cost will go from £12 to £13.

In a let­ter sent to stake­holder groups Dar­ren Kerr, di­rec­tor of es­tates and fa­cil­i­ties at Le­ices­ter’s hos­pi­tals, said: “In an im­per­fect world we do ev­ery­thing we can to keep the charges down.”

He added: “The 2.9 mil­lion we cur­rently gen­er­ate from charg­ing for park­ing al­lows us to pro­vide dis­counted travel for staff and the pub­lic on our spe­cial Hos­pi­tal Hop­per buses, cover the costs of run­ning our car parks and put money back into im­prov­ing our fa­cil­i­ties and ser­vices for pa­tients.

“If we did not charge for car park­ing then we would have to find money else­where which would have a di­rect im­pact on pa­tient care and the front­line ser­vices we pro­vide.”

Mr Kerr said any in­crease would still see Le­ices­ter’s hos­pi­tals pro­vid­ing the cheap­est hos­pi­tal park­ing in the East Mid­lands.

Le­ices­ter East MP Keith Vaz de­scribed an in­crease as “un­ac­cept­able” and added: “This new ‘hos­pi­tal tax’ will be one more bur­den on al­ready hard pressed lo­cal peo­ple.”

Cllr Palmer, chair­man of the city’s health and well be­ing board, said he was “very con­cerned” about the in­crease.

He added: “This is a di­rect con­se­quence of the Gov­ern­ment’s fail­ure to prop­erly fund the NHS.

“Hos­pi­tals shouldn’t have to be charg­ing for park­ing be­cause they are wor­ried about bal­anc­ing their books.”

“Peo­ple don’t have a choice if they have to go to hos­pi­tal and they don’t know how long they are going to be there for.”

Geoff Smith, a mem­ber of the Le­ices­ter Mer­cury Pa­tients’ Panel, said price in­creases were never wel­come but ap­peared to have been kept to a min­i­mum.

But he added: “Park­ing at the Le­ices­ter Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal and Glen­field Hos­pi­tal is never going to be sat­is­fac­tory un­til ‘pay on exit’ re­places ‘pay and dis­play’.”

Peo­ple vis­it­ing wards run by the Le­ices­ter­shire Part­ner­ship NHS Trust on the Glen­field Hos­pi­tal and Le­ices­ter Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal sites will con­tinue to be able to park with­out charge.

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