Hospitals billed over £50m in parking fees through April
Hospitals charged more than £50million in parking fees until April as Boris Johnson pledged to scrap payments for millions of patients and staff
- NHS trusts have charged patients and visitors £48,256,988 to park at their hospitals
- They billed doctors and an extra £5,272,954 this year during the pandemic
- The Department of Health says trusts must put revenue back into frontline services
Hospitals have received more than £50million in parking fees this year despite the pandemic limiting access for many and Boris Johnson promising to scrap them for the most vulnerable.
According to the Sun newspaper, patients and visitors paid £48,256,988 to park in hospitals across the country while doctors and nurses paid £5,272,954.
It means NHS trusts received a total of £53,529,942 over a 12-month period when many were prevented from going to hospitals due to the pandemic.
Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting criticized the costs and said: “NHS staff are exhausted.
“Prices and bills are going up. What thanks do they receive for their heroic efforts in the face of the pandemic? Fraudulent parking charges.
The Department of Health said hospitals had received funding to cover the costs of suspending fees and should not charge staff and those in groups most in need.
Hospitals have received over £50m in parking fees this year despite the pandemic limiting access for many and Boris Johnson promising to scrap them for the most vulnerable
He added: ‘NHS trusts are responsible for setting their parking fees and any income must be reinvested into frontline services.
It comes despite Boris Johnson’s pledge to scrap ‘unfair’ hospital parking charges as part of the Conservative Party manifesto ahead of the 2019 general election.
The Tory leader’s proposals promised free parking at hospitals – including for the two million disabled ‘blue badge’ drivers and passengers, as well as frequent outpatients and night staff.
At the time, he hailed it as a commitment to end ‘unfair’ NHS parking charges for protected groups – including disabled and terminally ill patients and their families.
The manifesto pledged that no NHS trust will end up with less money because of this change.
Despite this commitment, some hospitals said charging people for parking was a condition of their private finance initiative contracts.
During the pandemic, access to hospitals was significantly restricted, but trusts still brought in £53million
In 2019 Tory leader Boris Johnson (pictured) pledged to scrap ‘unfair’ hospital parking charges as part of the Tory manifesto ahead of the general election
In June last year, the Prime Minister faced fury after taking the decision to require NHS workers to park in hospitals in England.
Matt Hancock, who was Health Secretary at the time, promised at the start of the outbreak that ministers would cover hospital car parking costs for NHS staff ‘going 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” could park for free.
Doctors slammed the move, with the British Medical Association calling it a ‘dismissal of the immense efforts of staff and the sacrifices they have made to keep others safe’.
Many NHS staff have complained about the tickets they 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 floors at the site at 7.46am on Wednesday December 1.
After a typically grueling 1 p.m. shift, he returned to the parking lot just before 9 p.m. and drove home. However, three weeks later he received a payment notice in the mail from ParkingEye ordering him to pay a fine.
Although he had a staff parking permit, Dr Gough said he later discovered it was not valid for that particular area of the car park.
Doctor colleagues also responded to him after he shared his plight on Twitter, including UHW emergency medicine consultant Dr Farbod Babolhavaeji, who said it was “utterly shameful”.