Peterborough City Hospital bosses have defended car parking charges after it was revealed they made more than £1.7 million last year.
The Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust made £1.8million on car parking last year new research has found.
Seven NHS trusts earned more than £3 million in 2014/15 from charges, a further eight made more than £2 million a year while a further 33 earned more than £1 million a year.
Almost half of all trusts also charged disabled people for parking in some or all of their disabled spaces.
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, branded the charges “morally wrong”.
She said: “We are concerned that hospitals in England still charge patients for car parking.
“Why is it that patients in Wales and Scotland do not have to pay to park? It is a postcode lottery and a tax on sick people who sometimes struggle to pay.
“The money is never reinvested in frontline services. Hospital car parks are often managed by private contractors who take a huge percentage of the profits.”
Ian Crich, Director of Workforce and Organisational Development at Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said the charges were necessary to protect front line services.
He said: “In the financial year 2013/14, the Trust received £1.715k from charges relating to car parking for both staff and visitors.
“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.
“The Trust provides free car parking to blue badge holders, visitors to the Bereavement Centre and patients with a long-term illness or serious condition, needing regular treatment or long term 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 (NICU), 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 7 days).”