Hospital parking charges to be looked at under new guidelines
10:15 25 August 2014
Hospital parking charges are set to be reviewed across Norfolk and west Suffolk after the government announced new guidelines.
Under reforms, relatives of chronically ill patients must be given free or cheap hospital parking, and trusts should waive fines when an overstay is beyond the control of the driver, such as treatment taking longer than planned.
Patients with disabilities and those with frequent appointments as well as staff working shifts will also benefit from the shake-up, according to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt.
He said new guidelines for English hospitals had been drawn up to put an end to the stress of “unfair” charges. They set out for the first time that hospital trusts are responsible for the actions of any privately contracted firms they use to run their car parking operations.
It also calls on hospitals to look at introducing pay on exit systems so that people only pay for the time they have used.
Mr Hunt said: “Patients and families shouldn’t have to deal with the added stress of unfair parking charges.
“These clear ground rules set out our expectations, and will help the public hold the NHS to account for unfair charges or practices.”
Shadow health minister Andrew Gwynne said: “The Tory-led Government scrapped Labour’s plans to phase out car parking charges for patients and Jeremy Hunt needs to take responsibility for the fact that, since then, one in four hospitals have increased parking fees.
“Any action to ease the burden of car parking charges on patients and their visitors is welcome. ”
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn and West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds could not be reached for comment.
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