Scottish hospital parking fees axed

Car-parking charges for hospital patients in Scotland have been axed after a pledge made by health secretary Nicola Sturgeon in September.

Wales is set to abolish charges by the end of 2011, while the charity Macmillan Cancer Support has called for English patients to also be exempt.

In a survey it found that most believe cancer patients should get free parking after a study revealed that those who visit hospital 53 times on average paid £325 for the privilege.

Chief executive Ciaran Devane said: "Cancer patients tell us the cost of parking at hospital whilst they have treatment is one of their biggest worries.

"A typical patient sees their income halved after a cancer diagnosis. To then be expected to find more money to pay for parking your car whilst you go for chemotherapy is too much.

"Put bluntly, hospital parking charges are a tax on illness. In this day and age it is morally wrong that hospital bosses are emptying the pockets of cancer patients to pay their bills."

The charity said that patients can get help with costs through the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme (HTCS), while many hospitals offer concessions, although these are often poorly promoted.

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