NHS hospital visitors spent £250 million on parking fees in a year, investigation finds

10 December 2019, 15:59

The results found that a third of hospital put up their car parking charges last year, meaning the total income from parking has risen by a 10th
The results found that a third of hospital put up their car parking charges last year, meaning the total income from parking has risen by a 10th. Picture: PA/Getty
Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

People visiting loved ones in hospital have branded to cost of NHS hospital car parking a ‘rip-off’.

An investigation has found that between 2018 and 2019, visitors of NHS hospital spent a whopping £250 million on parking. People visiting loved ones in hospital have branded to cost of NHS hospital car parking a ‘rip-off’.

The study, carried out by The Press Association, investigated 144 NHS Trusts, and surveyed 8,000 patients and visitors.

The results found that a third of hospital put up their car parking charges last year, meaning the total income from parking has risen by a 10th.

Across the UK, hourly rates at hospital car parks range from £1 to £4
Across the UK, hourly rates at hospital car parks range from £1 to £4. Picture: Getty

Across the UK, hourly rates at hospital car parks range from £1 to £4, with the average bill of parking at a hospital for one week hitting £53.

North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust currently charge the most at £4 an hour.

The hospital that took the most money from parking fees over the year was Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, followed by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and then University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust.

People have called the charges a “rip off”, with campaigners comparing it to a “tax on being ill”.

People have called the charges a “rip off”, with campaigners comparing it to a “tax on being ill”
People have called the charges a “rip off”, with campaigners comparing it to a “tax on being ill”. Picture: PA

One man even told the investigators he once spent a whopping £102 visiting his wife in hospital, while 49 per cent of people surveyed said no one should have to pay for hospital parking.

Chief executive of the Patients Association, Rachel Power, said: “Given the sustained under-funding of the NHS, it is not surprising that hospitals are seeking to claw back money through increased parking charges on patients.

“But it is an unjust charge levied on people who are ill, because they are ill, and on the people who care about them. We need to see a full funding settlement for the health and care system, and car parking charges abolished once it is in place.”