Hospital Car Parking Charges On The Up

More than one in four hospital trusts have increased car parking charges for patients and visitors, according to new data.

More than one in four hospital trusts have increased car parking charges for patients and visitors, according to new data.

Hospitals in England make millions of pounds every year from parking, which is free for most people in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

Data from 197 hospital and mental health trusts found that while some have decreased prices, 28% have upped charges, some by over 100%.

The figures, analysed by data company SSentif, are provided to the NHS Information Centre by NHS trusts.

Only 16% of trusts reduced their average hourly parking charge for patients and visitors

Separate analysis found some trusts are charging much more than the national average (77p) for an hour's hospital parking, based on the average from a three-hour stay.

Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust charges £1.60 for one hour, £2.10 for two and £4.20 for up to four.

In September 2010, the Government announced it would not back a pledge made by Labour to scrap car parking charges in England's hospitals, saying the plan could not be justified.

Judy Aldred, managing director of SSentif, said: "Despite widespread criticism, the Government took the decision to keep hospital car parking charges in place and to allow trusts to set their own hourly rates.

"Whilst it is encouraging to see that some trusts have removed their charges or reduced them, our comparative study shows that charges still differ wildly across the country and those with long-term illnesses - or those visiting people with a long-term illness - are paying the price."

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