EXCLUSIVE: Trust which runs Queen’s Hospital collects £6million from parking charges in five years

Queen's Hospital

Queen's Hospital - Credit: Archant

The trust which runs Queen’s Hospital has raked in more than £6million from car parking charges over the past five years, new figures show.

Parking income for the Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (BHRUT) has jumped from £1,002,630.34 in 2009/10 to £1,452,807.68.

Between the years 2012/13 and 2013/14, the sum increased by more than £180,000.

The figures, obtained in a Freedom of Information request (FoI), show the total income of car parking charges across both Queen’s Hospital, in Rom Valley Way, Romford, and King George Hospital, in Goodmayes, Redbridge.

The Recorder previously reported on patients who have been hit with fines for failing to buy parking tickets when visiting Queen’s Hospital A&E and when a meeting overran by 10 minutes.

A former employee of the trust, who did not wish to be named, said: “The prices are quite steep, because you can have a long wait for your appointment and sometimes you are then told to come back again another day.

“It needs to be reasonable.

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“Staff also have to pay a lot of parking and, as an ex-worker, I don’t see why we should do that.”

Jackie Nugent, BHRUT’s director of estates and facilities, said charges were in line with local council-run car parks and neighbouring hospital trusts.

A stay of less than an hour for patients and visitors costs £1.20 at both hospitals, while visits of one to two hours cost £2.40.

The three to six hours option costs £4.80 and the highest charge is £18 for more than 12 hours.

The car park at Queen’s is run by a private finance partner on behalf of BHRUT, but the tariffs are set by the trust.

The figures do not include the income from Havering Council’s car park at the old ice rink.

Ian Buckmaster, the director of Healthwatch Havering, said: “We have no position on this, but there needs to be a balance between the people who are legitimately visiting and the people who are just using it as a car park because it is walking distance from the station.

“But there is a permit system [concessions] for certain people and that seems a reasonable approach.”

Ms Nugent said the trust strived to be as “compassionate as possible,” by offering more free disabled parking than is required and free parking to cancer patients, women in labour and families of terminally ill patients.

She added: “Funds raised from car parking are used to support hospital services and improve patient care.”