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22
Sep

Car parking charges for hospitals in England are to remain in place.


Parking remains free at hospitals in Scotland and Wales and for certain groups in Northern Ireland. The previous Labour government had said in 2009 that it intended to make hospital parking free for inpatients and regular outpatients.

 

However, the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition government says it believes there are better uses of public money than scrapping car parking charges.


[quote top=Health minister Simon Burns said:]Hospitals need to take responsibility for their own car parking arrangements. The requirement to provide concessions is clear, guidance is available, and local concerns where they exist need to be addressed. Hospitals need to make sure that they are behaving fairly.[/quote]

Hospital parking raises in the region of £110m a year but Labour Health Secretary Andy Burnham pledged to axe the fees, phasing them out of a three-year period.


But Mr Burns accused Labour of cynically announcing the policy with a general election in mind "without ever properly identifying the funding for it".


The average charge per hour for hospital car parks in England in 2008/9 was £1.09.
Macmillan Cancer Support said the government had failed cancer patients and should give “free or fair parking” to cancer patients.


Joe Farrington-Douglas from the NHS Confederation said: "There is little doubt that getting hospital car parking right is an essential part of reducing the hassle for NHS patients, visitors and staff and that is why we have argued for local decision making to ensure parking can be fair for everyone."

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