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11 October 2015, 06:26
Scrapping car parking charges at most Scottish hospitals has saved staff and patients more than £25 million, the Scottish Government has claimed.
Health Secretary Shona Robison said the savings had been made since parking fees were axed at all but three hospitals at the end of 2008.
She added while ministers would like to end charges at the three remaining hospitals - Glasgow Royal Infirmary, the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh and Ninewells Hospital in Dundee - they could not do so as these were linked to PFI contracts that were agreed before the SNP came to power.
Ms Robison said: "The founding principle of our NHS is to have services that are free for everyone - services that are not out to make profit.
"That's why I'm delighted that getting rid of car parking charges has saved patients and staff over £25 million.''
She added: "Charging to park at hospitals was an unnecessary financial burden on families and those needing treatment at a difficult time.
"Health boards are also continuing to work hard to put plans in place for addressing potential increases in demand, the promotion of greener transport and the possible misuse of spaces by commuters or others.
"I would like to be able to abolish charging at the three PFI car parks too but, unfortunately, these facilities are locked into long-term contracts with operators which precede this government. We continue to keep these under review.''