Patients sick of NHS hospital car parkingOur research shows over 70% have had a problem

24 May 2011

Hospital car parking map

Thousands of patients are having a stressful hospital visit made worse by the poor provision at NHS hospital car parks, the latest Which? research shows.

Freedom of Information research shows that although some hospitals have improved their parking provision after our investigation in 2010, there are still too many that are failing patients.

Frequent problems with car parks include a lack of information on concessions for regular visitors, no alternative payment options, high charges and excessive clamping or ticketing of hospital patients and visitors.

Our survey showed that 73% of people who have parked at an NHS hospital in the last two years have experienced a problem, and 51% told us that parking at the hospital made their visit more stressful.

We've plotted the results of our investigation on an interactive map, so you can see how well your NHS hospital scored, and which hospitals came top of our chart.

The best and the rest

Some hospitals really listened to patients' concerns after last year's Which? investigation. Epsom and St Helier Hospital in Surrey has gone from having one of the worst hospital car parks to the most improved.

They've stopped clamping, published clear guidance on concessions and they now offer a range of payment options so patients aren't stuck searching for change for the machine.

Nick Gorvett, Director of Corporate Infrastructure at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust explains their changes in a guest post on Which? Conversation:

'We decided to launch a comprehensive review of car parking, known as 'The Big Conversation', to find out how our car parks could be improved, while still keeping them safe, accessible and fair for the hundreds of thousands of people that use them each year.'

Languishing at the bottom of the league table, St George's Hospital in Tooting clamped a whopping 545 cars last year. University Hospitals of Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust issued over 18,000 parking tickets – more than 50 a day.

The cure for hospital car parks

Which? launched a campaign today to improve the way hospital car parks are run. We'd like NHS hospital chief executives to make sure that parking is not a stressful experience for their patients or visitors.

Which? is calling for NHS hospitals to:

  • provide fair charging systems and flexible payment options
  • provide adequate support for priority patients
  • yalk to patients and visitors, and listen to their concerns.

We'd also like to hear your stories on hospital car parking – have you had a particularly good or bad experience? What would you like your local NHS hospital to improve? Join in the hospital car park debate at Which? Conversation.