NHS trust raises £1.68m from car park­ing charges

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - COMIC RELIEF -

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

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