Car parks rake in £1.46m

Wigan Infirmary car park

Wigan Infirmary car park

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NHS hospital trusts have been accused of levying a “tax on sick people” after an investigation revealed some are making more than £3m a year from car parking fees.

Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh (WWL) is among half of Trusts across the country to have raised more than £1m.

Year on year, hospitals across England are raising increasing amounts of money from staff, patients and visitors, including those who are disabled, the Freedom of Information study has found.

David Evans, associate director of estates and facilities, said: “The £1.46m income from car parking comes from a combination of patients, visitors and staff.

“The direct costs taken from this income total about £1.2m and covers the external security company, energy costs, maintenance, business rates, lease costs and capital charges.

“The remaining funds contribute towards patient care. The Trust offers a range of concessions in line with Department of Health guidelines and these include paediatric, cancer and long stay patients and their visitors.”

Trusts across the country have been hit with criticism their profits do not go towards improving patients experience but instead go to private companies.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, branded the charges “morally wrong”.

She said: “We are concerned that hospitals in England still charge patients for car parking.

“Why is it that patients in Wales and Scotland do not have to pay to park?

“It is a postcode lottery and a tax on sick people who sometimes struggle to pay.”

WWL has recently revamped its parking tariffs and the new measures include concessions for oncology patients, those attending clinics for a minimum of one day a week for an extensive period and visitors of patients hospitalised for more than two weeks.