Third of hospitals charge staff to park09 Apr 2018

Highest parking charge for patients is £3.20 per hour

Three out of 10 hospitals charge staff for car parking, new figures show.

Doctors and nurses are expected to pay at 348 out of the 1,175 hospitals with parking facilities, according to NHS data studied by the RAC Foundation.

According to the NHS Estates Return Information Collection the highest average charge for staff is £2 per hour at both the Edgware Community Hospital, north-west London and Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Based on the official figures this suggests that cost of parking for a 40-hour working week would be £80.

(NOTE: subsequent to the publication of this press release the accuracy of the official data as it related to the Edgware Community Hospital was questioned by NHS Property Services which manages the car park at the site. A spokesperson said: “Staff can park for free in the staff car park at Edgware Community Hospital, which has approximately 200 spaces. The separate pay and display car park for visitors is £2 for the first hour on a scale up to £6 for 8 hours.”)

The highest average charge for patients is £3.20 per hour at St Thomas’ Hospital, central London.

The data also shows that 132 hospitals now charge for disabled parking.

Department of Health guidance is for NHS organisations to ensure staff can reach sites “as safely, conveniently and economically as possible”.

An investigation by the Press Association previously revealed that NHS hospitals made a record £175 million in 2016/17 from charging patients, visitors and staff for parking, up 6% on the year before.

RAC Foundation director Steve Gooding said:

“Few parking issues are as incendiary as charging people to leave vehicles at hospitals, be they patients, visitors or staff.

“Many hospitals are on built-up locations, on constrained sites, so some sort of control is inevitable, but this needs to be proportionate and stress free.

“Government guidance encourages hospitals to use pay-on-exit systems. This would at least mean the anxiety associated with a hospital visit is not compounded by paying up front and having to predict to the second how long a visit will last.”

Seventy-five members of staff at a hospital in Cardiff were left owing thousands of pounds in parking tickets last year. Some complained a lack of spaces left them forced to park in unauthorised areas.

Gerry O’Dwyer, senior employment relations adviser at the Royal College of Nursing, told the Press Association:

“Hefty parking charges are disadvantaging nursing staff who work around the clock to keep our NHS afloat.

“Many work through the night to care for patients and using public transport to get home isn’t an option.

“Hospital car parks require running and maintenance costs but after years of pay restraint nursing staff should not be overcharged for doing their jobs.

“The Government isn’t giving the NHS the funding it needs but struggling hospitals should not try to make money off their staff. Their goodwill won’t last forever. We need reasonable car parking provision with reasonable and affordable charges.”

ENDS

Contact:

Philip Gomm – Head of External Communications – RAC Foundation

philip.gomm@racfoundation.org | 020 7747 3445 | 07711 776448 | 020 7389 0601 (ISDN)

Notes to editors:

The RAC Foundation is a transport policy and research organisation that explores the economic, mobility, safety and environmental issues relating to roads and their users.

The Foundation publishes independent and authoritative research with which it promotes informed debate and advocates policy in the interest of the responsible motorist.

All the Foundation’s work is available on its website:

www.racfoundation.org