Hospital £1million parking cash boost

IPSWICH Hospital raked in more than £1million from visitors and patients using its car parks in the past year, it was revealed today.Cancer charities and health campaigners spoke of their shock last month after figures revealed that in 2005/2006, the hospital made £891,923.

IPSWICH Hospital raked in more than £1million from visitors and patients using its car parks in the past year, it was revealed today.

Cancer charities and health campaigners spoke of their shock last month after figures revealed that in 2005/2006, the hospital made £891,923.

Now, new figures unearthed under the Freedom of Information act by The Evening Star, show last year the cash topped the £1m mark.

In the 2006/07 financial year, it generated £1,008,919. It comes after charges were controversially increased in November last year, with the cost of a two-hour stay rising from £2 to £2.50.

Pru Rush, from the Ipswich Hospital Patient and Public Involvement Forum, said: “It's a lot of money to be making out of sick people and worried relatives.

“When prices went up in November people were very upset.

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“The NHS has become a very costly service for patients, not the free service it was.”

Mrs Rush also called for the hospital to install machines which give change.

The hospital, which has 1,388 staff spaces and 620 visitor spaces, does offer discounts for frequent patients and visitors who have friends and relatives in hospital for a long stay. Parking is free for disabled people.

Staff pay £15 a month or 80pence a day.

Jan Rowsell, Ipswich Hospital spokeswoman, said: “All the money raised from car parking is reinvested in the hospital and a large majority goes to pay for improved car parking and security.

“We don't receive any money to do either of those things other than through charging.

“We offer a range of concessions and constantly review charges.”

The news follows a row at The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital after it was revealed it notched up nearly £2m from March 2005 to March 2006 in parking charges, making it the fourth worst offending hospitals in the country.

The investigation revealed Southampton University made the most cash - £2,414,672 in 12 months - and cancer charities and health campaigners called the figures “shameful”.

Judy Beard, acting chief executive at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “Cancer patients spend hundreds of pounds each year on hospital parking. We want to see all cancer patients travelling regularly for treatment being able to park free at hospital.”

n Do you think its costs too much to park at Ipswich Hospital? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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