Urgent Call to End £200M Hospital Parking Fee Burden

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London (Parliament Politics Maganize) – According to recently released numbers by the Liberal Democrats, hospital personnel, visitors, and patients paid about £200 million in parking fees the previous year. Campaigners are calling for a ban on rip-off hospital parking fees after staff, visitors, and patients spent close to £200 million on them in a year.

Dennis Reed Says: Eliminate Hospital Parking Fees

The Silver Voices advocacy group director for seniors, Dennis Reed, declared that hospital parking fees had to be eliminated.”No one visits a hospital for a cup of coffee or just for pleasure. Everyone is an NHS employee, a patient’s visitor, or a patient.”There are very few exceptions to these fees, such as those who own blue badges or parents who remain overnight with their sick children. The fact that the NHS is being pushed to charge for access to the hospital by using necessary parking to raise money is disgusting.”Many hospitals are challenging to get by public transportation, significantly if your health condition limits your movement. Another deterrent to obtaining medical attention when you know you would have to wait for hours in A&E is exorbitant hospital parking fees.

The director of Age UK, Caroline Abrahams, cautioned that the fees represent an additional setback in the ongoing cost-of-living problem.”Sadly, having to pay a large parking fee when you visit a loved one in the hospital or go to an appointment just puts more financial strain on people who are already struggling with the high cost of living,” the speaker stated. We acknowledge that funds are scarce in the NHS, but patients, their families, and friends would benefit more if hospitals could take steps to make parking costs reasonable. The sum that hospital patients and visitors paid for parking last year was quadruple the £47.9 million made the year before and increased from £96.7 million in 2021/22. 

In 2022–2023, the daily amount spent in hospital parking lots was the equivalent of £400,000. However, it’s unclear if the increase is the result of rising costs, an increase in the number of persons utilizing parking, or some other factor. Hospital employees paid a total of £46.7 million in 2022–2023 compared to £5.6 million in the previous year since parking fees were banned during the epidemic.

The director of the Royal College of Nursing for England, Patricia Marquis, stated: “The rising expense of parking takes too much of their low wage from nursing staff and support workers.”Nurses sometimes work irregular shifts or in challenging areas to provide round-the-clock care for their patients, making public transportation impractical. In order to go to patients, district nurses even cover their gas expenses. 

The NHS and the government need to reconsider; paying nursing personnel out of pocket for doing their duties is entirely unjust. “Ministers must support nursing if they don’t want to see even more people leave this wonderful field, which will ultimately hurt patients.”

The British Medical Association Council chairman, Professor Phil Banfield, continued: “The expense of parking on NHS sites in England is a long-standing issue for healthcare workers as well as patients.” They are an invisible burden on the ill, their visitors, and their caregivers. Given the ongoing underfunding of our National Health Service (NHS), it is evident that a portion of the trusts’ parking income is allocated to patient care. However, it still amounts to little more than an increase in the already exorbitant cost of living for government-undervalued healthcare workers. Employees need to feel appreciated when their morale is at an all-time low because too many are quitting. Trusts should voluntarily make sure that costs are “reasonable for the area.”In order to reduce costs for patients, visitors, and employees, the Liberal Democrats asked the government to collaborate with trusts.

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Hospital vehicle parking fees are turning into a tax on providing care for patients and hardworking NHS workers, according to Daisy Cooper, the Liberal Democrats’ health and social care spokeswoman. People are genuinely suffering as a result of this Conservative Government’s failure to follow through on its pledge to rein in excessive hospital parking fees.” We will always support hardworking NHS staff and have delivered on our commitment to provide free hospital car parking in England for those most in need,” a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Social Care stated.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.