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Hospitals see an increase in revenue from car parking

PUBLISHED: 08:09 28 December 2017 | UPDATED: 08:09 28 December 2017

Ipswich Hospital. Picture: ARCHANT

Ipswich Hospital. Picture: ARCHANT

Archant

Hospitals in Suffolk and Essex have seen an increase in the money collected from patients, visitors and staff for car parking, it has been revealed.

Figures collected via a Freedom of Information request show that Ipswich Hospital saw parking revenue go up from £1,534,194 in 2015/16 to £1,582,50 in 2016/17.

Colchester Hospital also saw an increase in revenue, rising from £968,000 on 2015/16 to £1,133,000 on 2015/16, according to data collected by the Press Association.

Hospitals across England took £174,526,970 in parking charges in 2016/17, up 6% on the year before, with the Liberal Democrat heath spokesman Norman Lamb describing it as a ‘tax on sickness’.

A spokeswoman for both the Ipswich Hospital and Colchester Hospital University NHS Trusts said all money raised through car parking goes directly into improving services.

She said: “We know that car parking anywhere is a particularly emotive subject and we really do appreciate car parking in hospitals is often very stressful and causes a great deal of concern, not only for our patients and visitors but also our staff. At Ipswich Hospital we will shortly be opening around an extra 250 spaces of additional car parking. At Colchester we are working very hard on a major new programme to provide better access and car parking at the hospital. Both hospitals would love to be in a position where they didn’t need to charge for parking but sadly we are a long way away from that. We don’t get paid for car parking, the money we get is for patients, and rightly so.”

Mid Essex Hospitals Services NHS has among the highest hospital parking charges for a one-hour visit in England - parking at the trust’s Broomfield Hospital for more than 15 minutes will cost at least £3.

A spokesman said: “These charges are comparable to other NHS Trusts in the region.

“The income from these car park charges contribute to the provision of patient care and the maintenance of the car parks, and the charges for parking at the hospital have remained unchanged for more than five years. “

Meanwhile, the James Paget University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust saw its parking revenue go up from £1,028,883 in 2015/2016 to £1,151,534 in 2016/2017.

A spokeswoman said its charges are reviewed annually and its last increase was in February 2014.

She said: “The income from charges is invested in a range of car parking improvements. These include security, maintenance, increasing the number of spaces available on the hospital site and capital investments to ensure our car park facilities continue to meet the needs of our patients, visitors and staff.”

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