Parking fees boost Fylde hospital funds by £1m

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Hospitals on the Fylde coast made more than £1m last year through charging motorists for parking.

New figures show most of Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NSH Foundation Trust’s income from parking came from staff.

The trust, which runs Blackpool Victoria Hospital and Clifton Hospital, made £1.3m in 2015/16 from car park charges. Of that, £376,598 was contributed by patients and visitors, with charges for staff adding up to £882,120.

More than half of the 120 NHS trusts that responded to Freedom of Information requests were earning more than £1m a year from parking charges.

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

A spokesman for the trust said providing parking was a priority recently, which is why it invested £11m in a new multi-storey car park for the benefit of patients and staff.

Charges are necessary to cover the cost of maintenance and upkeep, he said.

He added: “The surplus income that we receive from parking fees is reinvested directly into patient care and the improvement and delivery of car parking for our patients, carers and visitors. We do raise awareness with our patients that parking concessions are available.

“Patients on benefits may also be able to claim their money back through the NHS Healthcare Travel Costs scheme.’’

Free parking is available for haematology or oncology patients undergoing regular treatment or attending appointments and carers or relatives of patients who have been in hospital for more than two weeks. There is also free disabled parking.

Shadow community health minister Julie Cooper said the national trend for increasing fees was ‘worrying’.

Which hospital trusts make the most money from their car parks?

NHS trusts across England made more than £120m from car park charges in 2015/16. The trusts that made the most were:

Heart of England – £4,841,108

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust – £3,671,735

University Hospital Southampton – £3,366,770

University Hospitals of North Midlands – £3,347,723

Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – £3,030,678

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – £2,987,458

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust – £2,801,117

Aintree University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust – £2,659,000

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust – £2,557,081

Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust £2,349,449