Background



Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Trust Make £2.2 million from Parking Charges

Patients and their families should not have to deal with the added stress of unfair parking charges, at what is already an extremely difficult time. That is why I am glad that the Department of Health has published a clear set of principles to allow the public to hold the NHS to account for unfair charges or practices that are in place.

Decisions regarding hospital car parking are taken locally by NHS Trusts and must take account of local circumstances and community interests. The guidance states that charges should be reasonable for the area and concessions should be available to certain groups such as people with disabilities, carers and visitors to relatives who are gravely ill or have an extended hospital stay. Many hospitals and NHS organisations do offer free parking. The guidance makes clear that NHS organisations should work with patients, staff, visitors, local authorities and public transport providers when planning their parking provisions.

The Department of Health has published overarching principles regarding hospital parking charges, to which all institutions must abide. I think it is right that such guidelines are available publicly, as they ensure that the Government maintains public trust on contentious issues, such as those surrounding hospital parking charges. These principles can be viewed here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-patient-visitor-and-staff-car-parking-principles/nhs-patient-visitor-and-staff-car-parking-principles

Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Trust made £2.2m last year from parking charges which many local people will consider an excessive amount. Although the Trust’s parking policy already allows for free parking in some situations such as parents who need to stay with sick children, the current parking policies of the Trust need to be revised so that they help vulnerable people and hardworking staff. For example, further exemptions to parking charges could apply to people who have to make regular outpatient visits; carers of people who have extended stays in hospital; or staff who are working unsociable hours. I am calling upon of local Trust to urgently review its parking arrangements to ensure that those who need to visit both hospitals, the vulnerable, and staff, are not unfairly penalised by its current policy.


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