Sheffield hospitals make £2.8 million in parking charges

Northern General Hospital
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Patients, visitors and staff at Sheffield hospitals paid £2.8 million in parking charges last year, new figures reveal.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust made £2,801,117 in parking fees last year, with £2,193,884 from patients and visitors and £607,233 from members of staff.

Only six other trusts in England, of those who released their parking income figures under the Freedom of Information Act, raised more money.

Hospital director Kevin O’Regan said: “As the UK’s second largest trust the number of car parking spaces we have is significantly more than most and so our income in comparison will always appear higher.

“Once maintenance and new development costs are covered, any surplus income we receive is always reinvested in NHS services here in Sheffield.”

Barnsley Hospital NH Foundation Trust collected £1,249,272 and Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust made £916,841.

A total of £1,394,933 was paid in parking charges at Chesterfield Royal Hospital.

Hospitals across England made more than £120 million from charging patients, staff and visitors for parking in the last year, up five per cent on the year before and rising year on year.

Some 120 NHS trusts across England were asked to give figures on parking charges and fines under the Freedom of Information Act, with 89 providing responses.

Overall, NHS trusts netted £120,662,650 in car park charges, up from £114,873,867 the year before.

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 shocking reality about car parking charges is that they are taking money from the sick and vulnerable to top up NHS coffers.

"This is not what car parking charges should be used for.

"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 are not talking about insignificant amounts of money, either. It is alarming that trusts think it is okay to charge people so much money for visiting a hospital, as it makes patients question the values of the people leading the organisation.

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

Ms Murphy said it was important that drivers parked sensibly but said fines were a burden on the sick.

She added: "It is not right that fines should be so heavy handed on sick and disabled patients."

Shadow community health minister Julie Cooper said: "These new figures reinforce the worrying trend that hospitals across England are increasing hospital car parking charges and making record amounts of money.

"Raising car parking charges has a knock on effect on patients, carers and family members who have no choice but to pay.

"The current situation is wholly unfair and will only cause more stress for patients, families and carers.

"Hospitals cannot justify increasing car parking charges nor can half of all NHS trusts justify charging disabled people for parking.

"The Government urgently needs to address this situation and take steps to cap the amount hospitals can charge for car parking fees."