Call to slash hospital parking costs

Wigan Infirmary car park
Wigan Infirmary car park

WIGAN hospitals trust has been told to cut the cost of parking for certain groups under new government guidelines.

Ministers said relatives of people who were seriously ill or had to stay in hospital for a long time should be given free parking or reduced charges.

Concessions should also be offered to people with disabilities and NHS staff whose shift patterns meant they could not use public transport, they said. In 2013/14 Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust (WWL) brought in revenue totalling £863,046, according to a Freedom of Information request.

However, bosses at WWL say they are already working within the guidelines.

A spokesman for WWL said: “Over the past few years, the trust invested over £1.5m in additional car parking facilities.

“Part of this investment led to staff parking moving to Wigan town centre to free up spaces at the hospital for patients and visitors.

“This resulted in an 80 per cent increase in patient and visitor parking spaces and also a 26 per cent increase for blue badge holders. Feedback from visitors/patients at Wigan Infirmary suggests parking on the site is now much better than it was previously.

“Concessions remain in place for those patients and their main visitors who have to use the car parks frequently. For example, long-term patients or those who require frequent hospital visits for regular treatment for long-term conditions.

“Further concessions support our oncology patients who attend the Trust for frequent regular treatment; they receive free parking for the length of their treatment. This criterion was fully agreed by Macmillan Cancer Support. Patients also receive free parking if attending any of the clinics at the trust for a minimum of one day a week for an extensive period.”