- 2019 National Delegate Conference
- 7 February 2019
The exorbitant cost of car parking at hospitals and GP surgeries is putting an increasing financial burden on patients and carers, especially women who are traditionally the main carers for elderly family and children who need routine and regular appointments. For more serious ailments and long term stays in hospital, the cost become so expensive that it places additional pressures on families.
The Press Association has found that NHS Trusts made more than £226 million in 2017/18 from car parking charges and penalty fines and that most hospitals also charge for disabled parking. These costs are variable depending where you live, but the cost to carers living in the South East of England will usually be higher than most other regions. Hospital car parking charges in Scotland and Wales were abolished in 2008 but this practice has not been followed in England. Although car parking charges still exist in Northern Ireland, allowances for free parking have been made for patients receiving radiotherapy or chemotherapy treatment, renal dialysis and for next of kin visiting patients in critical care or a high dependency unit.
Charities such as MacMillan Cancer and groups such as the Patients Association have said that hospital car parking charges are morally wrong, especially for disabled patients and those who have to attend hospital for life saving treatment, i.e. radiotherapy. The Patients Association also stated that the claim from hospitals that car parking revenue is reinvested back into patient care and front line services is simply not true.
The economic value of the contributions made by carers in the UK is £132 billion a year. The majority of carers are fed up and angry with the government making money from their unpaid labour and that they actually have to pay (via charges such as hospital car park costs) in order to carry out their role. Conference believes that NHS England can do more to ensure that patients and carers are not made to pay what amounts to a financial penalty.
Conference believes that the government should take action to limit this unfair financial burden. Conference calls on the National Executive Council to work with Labour Link, National Self Organised Groups, Young Members and other committees and department and external agencies as necessary to develop a national campaign and lobby government for a review and cessation of car parking charges at hospitals in England as has been achieved in both Scotland and Wales.