NHS trust raises £1.68m from car parking charges
THE East Kent Hospitals NHS Trust has raked in £1.68 million in car parking charges over the last year in what has been branded “a tax on the sick.”
It was the fifth highest amount recorded by any health trust in the country and the highest in Kent, according to official statistics released this week.
Peggy Pryer, secretary of campaign group Concern for Health in East Kent (CHEK) said: “It is a tax on the sick and it seems unfair to victimise people who have to go to visit sick relatives.
“I absolutely condemn making money out of patients and we need some sort of guarantee that the money is going back into parking.”
Last year the trust changed the rules on disabled parking at hospitals.
It created bays for disabled drivers, but if they are full disabled drivers must pay to use the regular spaces.
The hospitals trust says the £1.68 million it earned in charges reflects its size. It says half the money is spent on maintaining the car parks with the rest going into trust funds.
It also runs a patient transport scheme to and from hospitals and has parking bays for disabled drivers which cancer patients can use.
Trust spokesman Gemma Shillito said: “Visitors generally accept that the provision of car parking facilities will incur a cost and are pleased that surplus revenue gets put back into the trust.”
What do you think? Are the charges too high? Should all the proceeds go towards improving parking? Write to us at 34-36 North Street, Ashford, TN24 8JR, or e-mail kentishexpress@thekmgroup .co.uk