Pay and dismay

The full car park at Wigan Infirmary
The full car park at Wigan Infirmary

NONE of the cash made by charging folk to park at Wigan’s hospitals is spent on health services.

Instead the £1m-plus generated by the ever-controversial tariffs is ploughed back into security and management of the parking facilities themselves.

Health chiefs came under fire this week after the startling figures were revealed via a Freedom of Information Act request from the UK Independence Party.

Parking charges at local hospitals have been an unpalatable if accepted way of life in Wigan for visitors and patients since the borough’s old health authority first introduced them in the mid-1990s.

UKIP branch spokesman Frank Swift claims that hospital visitors will be angry at the revelation because they have always believed that car park revenues were at least being ploughed back into patient care.

However, a spokesman for Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust insisted today that car parking and the security of vehicles while parked there remained a “paramount” part of its provision.

And that if car park security and management costs weren’t funded by the incoming revenues it would have to be paid for from its patients’ services budget.

FULL STORY IN THIS WEEK’S WIGAN OBSERVER ...