Patients and their families should not have to deal with the added stress of unfair parking charges, at what is already an extremely difficult time. The Department of Health has published a clear set of principles to allow the public to hold the NHS to account for unfair charges or practices that are in place.
Decisions regarding hospital car parking are taken locally by NHS Trusts and must take account of local circumstances and community interests. The guidance states that charges should be reasonable for the area and concessions should be available to certain groups such as people with disabilities, carers and visitors to relatives who are gravely ill or have an extended hospital stay. Many hospitals and NHS organisations do offer free parking, however the Government is minded of potential unintended consequences of universal free parking, and its possible effects on the number of available spaces.
It is a priority to encourage transparency in the NHS. Each year, the Government publishes information about the costs and provision of car parking at each NHS hospital. The guidance makes clear that NHS organisations should work with patients, staff, visitors, local authorities and public transport providers when planning their parking provisions.
The Department of Health has published overarching principles regarding hospital parking charges, to which all institutions must abide.These principles can be viewed here: