Peterborough and Stamford hospitals trust makes £1.8 million in car parking charges

The trust which runs Peterborough City Hospital and Stamford Hospital made £1.8 million from car parking charges in 2015/16.

Thursday, 29th December 2016, 11:30 am
Updated Thursday, 29th December 2016, 3:20 pm
Peterborough City Hospital exteriors EMN-141118-141223009

The figure has been revealed by the Press Association which found that NHS hospitals are making more money than ever from car park charges.

Hospitals across England made more than £120 million from charging patients, staff and visitors for parking in the last year, up five per cent on the year before and rising year on year.

In 2015/16, Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust made £1,815,000 from parking charges (patients/visitors £1,306,000, staff £509,0000).

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Ian Crich, director of workforce and organisational development, said: “We review our car parking charges annually and benchmark our charges against those at other hospitals in the region.

“We have to ensure the charge covers the cost of providing the facility for 2,006 car parking spaces on the Peterborough City Hospital site and does not come out of money allocated for healthcare.

“This includes 96 disabled spaces which are free to use for blue badge holders.

“The trust also provides free car parking for visitors to the Bereavement Centre and patients with a long-term illness or a serious condition that needs regular treatment such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and haemodialysis.

“Concessionary parking (reduced rate) is also offered to patients whose appointment time exceeds 2.5 hours due to a long wait in clinic, a parent of a child in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Children’s Amazon Ward or a birthing partner, the main visitor to a critically ill or terminally ill patient on a daily basis and relatives visiting a patient on a daily basis for a prolonged period of time (exceeding seven days).”

Some 120 NHS trusts across England were asked to give figures on parking charges and fines under the Press Association’s Freedom of Information Act, with 89 providing responses.

Overall, NHS trusts netted £120,662,650 in 2015/16 in car park charges, up from £114,873,867 the year before, the study found.

Some 27 trusts provided data on parking fines, showing they made £2,300,208 in fines over a four year period. In 2015/16 alone, £635,387 was made from fining patients, visitors and staff on hospital grounds.

The investigation also found that almost half of all NHS trusts charge disabled people for parking in some or all of their disabled spaces.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said it was unfair that hospital parking in Wales and Scotland was largely free but that patients in England were still forced to pay.

She added: “The shocking reality about car parking charges is that they are taking money from the sick and vulnerable to top up NHS coffers.

“This is not what car parking charges should be used for.

“The NHS is clearly underfunded, but the onus on meeting the funding crisis should most certainly not be shouldered by the sick, injured and vulnerable.

“We are not talking about insignificant amounts of money, either. It is alarming that trusts think it is okay to charge people so much money for visiting a hospital, as it makes patients question the values of the people leading the organisation.

“We take a very clear line that car parking fees need to be scrapped or strictly capped.”

The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust came out top when it came to parking income, making £4,841,108 across the year. This included £3,465,357 from patients and visitors and £1,375,751 from staff. Almost £40,000 was collected by the trust in car park fines.

More than half of trusts who responded to the FOI request are making more than £1 million in car park fees every year, with some also handing money to private firms.

Many trusts defended their revenues, saying some or all of the money was put back into patient care or was spent on maintaining car parks or grounds.

Others claimed their sheer size and the fact that they served busy neighbourhoods meant they took more in revenue.

The total amount raised by NHS trusts is likely to be higher. Some large trusts, such as Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Royal Surrey, failed to provide figures for 2015/16. In 2014/15, Oxford raised £3,728,000, while Royal Surrey made £1,421,172.