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Government scraps free NHS hospital parking plans

Hospital parking charging to be set locally

Hospital parking

Following the government’s announcement that it is to scrap the previous government’s plans for free NHS hospital car parking in England, Which? is calling for local hospitals to implement fairer charging. 

Which? research has shown that parking made hospital visits more stressful for 49% of people. 

Using information gathered through 126 Freedom of Information requests in March 2010, Which? also rated hospitals against criteria such as penalties and information for patients, and named and shamed the best and worst NHS hospital car parks in England

Clamp-happy Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals Trust, which clamped 1671 cars in 2008-9 making a profit of £1,851,271 from its car park, has launched a review of its car parking management following Which?’s investigation 

Which? demand fairer charges

The government says it does see the provision of appropriate concessions for patients whose health care needs require extended access to hospitals as fundamental, but it will be up to local hospital trusts to decide how they put this into practice..

Which? chief executive Peter Vicary-Smith says: ‘Of course there can be no “one size fits all” solution to hospital parking. But our research has shown that too many hospitals are using excessive charges, fines and clamping to control parking. 

‘Visiting hospitals is stressful enough without the added burden of battling with the parking system. If hospitals are to manage car parking on a local level they need to do so in a way that is fair to their patients and visitors.’

Which? is calling on NHS hospitals to improve car parking services by meeting ten demands including making charges fair, ensuring enough spaces for patients and visitors, and reimbursing patients for additional parking fees when appointments are delayed. 

See more information about the work Which? is doing and tell us your hospital car parking story by visiting our car parking campaign section.

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