Hospitals charged more than £50MILLION in car parking fees in year to April despite Boris Johnson vowing to axe payments for millions of patients and staff
- NHS trusts charged patients and visitors £48,256,988 to park at their hospitals
- They charged medics and additional £5,272,954 this year during the pandemic
- Department of Health said Trusts must feed revenue back into frontline services
Hospitals received more than £50 million in car parking fees this year despite the pandemic restricting access for many and Boris Johnson vowing to axe them for the most vulnerable.
According to the Sun newspaper, patients and visitors paid £48,256,988 to park at hospitals across the country while doctors and nurses forked out £5,272,954.
This means that NHS trusts received in total £53,529,942 during a 12 month period where many were barred from attending hospitals because of the pandemic.
Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting criticised the costs and said: ‘NHS staff are exhausted.
‘Prices and bills are rising. What thanks do they get for their heroic efforts over the pandemic? Rip-off parking charges.’
The Department of Health said hospitals had been given funding to cover the costs of suspending charges and should not be charging staff and those from groups in most need.
Hospitals received more than £50 million in car parking fees this year despite the pandemic restricting access for many and Boris Johnson vowing to axe them for the most vulnerable
It added: ‘NHS trusts are responsible for setting their car parking charges and any revenue must go back into front-line services.’
It comes despite Boris Johnson’s pledge to axe ‘unfair’ hospital car parking charges as part of the Conservative party manifesto in the run up to the 2019 general election.
The Tory leader’s proposals promised free car parking at hospitals – including for the two million ‘blue badge’ disabled drivers and passengers, as well as frequent outpatients and staff on night shifts.
At the time, he hailed it as a commitment to end ‘unfair’ NHS car parking charges for protected groups – including disabled and terminally ill patients and their families.
The manifesto pledged that no NHS trust will be left with less money because of this change.
Despite this pledge, some hospitals have said that charging people to park is a condition of their private finance initiative contracts.
During the pandemic, access to hospitals was greatly restricted but trusts still raked in £53m
In 2019, Tory leader Boris Johnson (pictured) pledged to scrap ‘unfair’ hospital parking charges as part of the Conservatives’ manifesto in the run up to the General Election
In June last year, the Prime Minister faced fury after he made the decision to charge NHS workers to park at hospitals in England.
Matt Hancock, who was health secretary at the time, promised at the start of the outbreak that ministers would cover the costs of hospital car parking for NHS staff ‘going above and beyond every day’ in England.
But the Department of Health then said the scheme could not continue indefinitely and only ‘key patient groups’ and staff in ‘certain circumstances’ would be able to park for free.
Doctors slammed the move, with the British Medical Association calling it a ‘rebuff to the immense efforts of staff and the sacrifices they have made to keep others safe’.
Many NHS staff have complained about tickets they have received after returning to their car at the end of a hospital shift.
Dr Chris Gough, who works in intensive care at the University Hospital of Wales (UHW) in Cardiff, had parked his car in one of the site’s multi-storeys at 7.46am on Wednesday, December 1.
Following a typically gruelling 13-hour shift, he returned to the car park just before 9pm and drove home. However, three weeks later he received a parking charge notice in the post from ParkingEye ordering him to pay a fine.
Despite having a staff parking permit, Dr Gough said he later discovered it was not valid for this particular area of the car park.
Fellow medics also responded to him after he shared his plight on Twitter, including Dr Farbod Babolhavaeji, a consultant in emergency medicine at UHW who said it was ‘utterly disgraceful’.
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