Hospital car park hike “a tax on visiting the sick”
Telford & Wrekin Council has condemned the 20 to 128 per cent hike in car park charges at the Princess Royal and Royal Shrewsbury Hospitals.
From November 1, the charges will increase as follows:
•Up to two hours - £3 (20% increase)
•Up to three hours - £4 (33% increase)
•Up to four hours - £5 (66%)
•Up to five hours - £6 (100% increase)
•Up to 24 hours - £8 (128% increase)
Cllr Arnold England, Telford & Wrekin Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, Health and Wellbeing, said: “These are eye-watering, inflation- busting increases. With inflation at 3% how can the Trust possibly justify them?
“The Government should fund our NHS properly so that Trusts don’t need to resort to trying to prop up their finances by charging for car parking. We call on these increases to be withdrawn immediately.
“Between 2011 and 2016 Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust made between £1million to more than £1.5million a year from charging visitors and staff to park*.
“The Trust says these new charges will encourage better flow and increased availability. People needing to visit hospital are hostages to these charges. If they need to visit, they need to visit.
“These charges do nothing other than punish them during an inevitably difficult and stressful time. This is a tax on visiting the sick.
“And there is even more potential punishment for people who have to visit hospital. The ‘Future Fit’ preferred option to site planned care in Telford and emergency care in Shrewsbury, is the option that would, by the NHS’ own figures, inconvenience the most people.
“So, under the ‘Future Fit’ plan, not only would more people face having to travel further for hospital care, they would be hit by the double-whammy of having to pay more to park when they get there.
“If and when the Future Fit consultation begins, it is vital that people tell NHS bosses that their preferred option, is the wrong option.”
*Source: SaTH Freedom of Information Response August 2016: https://www.sath.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Car-Parking-Revenue-and-Charges.pdf