Hospital car park costs increase

Hospital patients and visitors in England have faced more expensive car parking costs due to hospital trusts increasing the charges, new information has revealed.

A report from data company SSentif found that NHS hospital trusts in England which charge take in millions of pounds yearly from parking costs, while the majority of hospital car parks in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland are free.

According to the study conducted on 197 health trusts, 28% increased costs, with some raising the charges by more than 100%. Reductions in parking fees were only seen at 16% of trusts.

It found that Stockport NHS Foundation Trust and the Royal Marsden hospital based in London were two of those which increased charges for visitors by more than 100% in 2010/11, compared with 2009/10. Their car parking tickets rose from 50p per hour to around £1 per hour on average.

Hospital trusts in the South West were considered to be cheapest at 52p an hour on average, while London and the South East were identified as being the least affordable at an average rate of £1.02 an hour.

Judy Aldred, managing director of SSentif, said: "Despite widespread criticism, the Government took the decision to keep hospital car parking charges in place and to allow trusts to set their own hourly rates."

Copyright Press Association 2012