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Monday, May 27, 2024
Monday May 27, 2024
Monday May 27, 2024

Outcry over skyrocketing NHS parking fees: Patients and staff shell out £146 million in a year

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Lib Dems accuse Tories of breaking pledge as hospital parking costs surge, sparking fears of staff exodus

In a startling revelation, hospital patients and visitors faced a 50% surge in car parking fees, totaling £146 million in the past year, fueling accusations against the government for imposing a “tax on caring.” The Liberal Democrats criticize the Tories for failing to fulfill their manifesto promise to eliminate unfair parking charges, with concerns rising over the impact on both patients and NHS staff.

Tories Accused of Breaking Promise

Criticism mounts against the Conservative government as recent figures expose a staggering 50% increase in hospital car parking fees, reaching £146 million in just 12 months. The Tories face accusations of imposing a “tax on caring,” failing to honor their commitment to end unjust parking charges. This surge translates to an estimated daily spending of £400,000 in England alone, according to data.

Skyrocketing Costs for NHS Staff

Of particular concern is the eight-fold increase in fees paid by hospital staff, soaring from £5.6 million in 2021/22 to a staggering £46.7 million in 2022/23. The substantial rise, following the reintroduction of charges in March post-COVID-pandemic, sparks fears that the financial burden could drive healthcare professionals, including medics, to consider leaving their positions.

Highest Earners and Alarming Income

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust emerges as the highest earner from parking, collecting £5.2 million from patients and £2.8 million from staff. Across 64 NHS trusts, more than £1 million was generated from patient and visitor parking, revealing the financial impact on those seeking medical care.

NHS parking
Image by frimufilms on Freepik

Lib Dems Expose Massive Increases

Analysis by the Liberal Democrats, using NHS England figures, brings attention to the substantial increases in parking costs. The party’s health and social care spokeswoman, Daisy Cooper, condemns hospital car parking fees as a “tax on caring,” emphasizing the government’s failure to deliver on its promise to combat unfair charges.

Warnings of an NHS Staff Exodus

Concerns are raised over the potential exodus of NHS staff due to the escalating costs. Patricia Marquis, Director for England at the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), highlights the burden on nursing staff and support workers, urging the government and the NHS to reconsider the impact of these rising expenses on dedicated healthcare professionals.

Government Response and Pledge

The Department of Health and Social Care responds, stating that the government continues to support NHS staff and has delivered on its commitment to provide free hospital car parking for those most in need. The Conservatives defend their record, claiming to have fulfilled their manifesto pledge to end unfair charges.

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