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Revealed: How much Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust made from parking charges in the last year

PUBLISHED: 13:15 28 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:38 28 December 2017

Queen's and King George Hospital are both run by the trust. Picture credit: Archant.

Queen's and King George Hospital are both run by the trust. Picture credit: Archant.

Archant

The amount of revenue Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust made from car parking fees has been revealed today.

According to figures collected by the Press Association, the trust which runs King George Hospital in Goodmayes, and Queen’s Hospital in Romford, made £1,712,000 in 2016/17.

While NHS trusts in England continue to charge hospital patients, visitors and staff for parking, it remains largely free in Scotland and Wales.

Norman Lamb, Liberal Democrat health spokesman, said: “The vast sums of money that hospitals are making from parking charges reveal the hidden cost of healthcare faced by many patients and their families.

“Hospital car park charges amount to a tax on sickness, with people who are chronically ill or disabled bearing the brunt.

“All hospitals should be following the national guidelines to make sure that patients, relatives, and NHS staff are not unfairly penalised.”

Shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, added: “Hospital parking charges are an entirely unfair and unnecessary burden, which disproportionately affect the most vulnerable people using our health service.

“Labour will abolish car parking charges and scrap this needless strain on already worried families.”

Rachel Power, chief executive of the Patients Association, said the current state of NHS finances meant it was sometimes hard to blame hospitals for trying to find money.

But she said that did not make the current situation acceptable.

She added: “For patients, parking charges amount to an extra charge for being ill.

“Hospital appointments are often delayed or last longer than expected, so even if you pay for parking you could end up being fined if your ticket runs out.”

RAC spokesman Pete Williams said: “Hospital parking charges are a major source of angst and unfairly hit those who can least afford it at a time when they are in most need of care and support.”

A Department of Health spokesman said: “NHS organisations are locally responsible for the methods used to charge, and we want to see them coming up with flexible options that put patients and their families first.”

The Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust made the most revenue in England, collecting £4,865,000 in the past year.

Richard Smith, the trust’s car parking manager, said: “We understand that paying for car parking is the last thing our patients want to think about when coming to our hospitals, so we work hard to keep costs as low as we can.

“We offer free parking to our cancer patients when coming in for treatment, there is no charge to park for the first 48 hours for our maternity patients and we also offer free parking to long-stay patients in our hospitals. We also provide free parking for parents with children in our hospitals, and free visitor parking for the families of patients in intensive care.

“The majority of our car parks are run by our partner, Sodexo. Any income to our trust is used to fund patient care across our hospitals.”

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