How much did YOUR hospital make in parking charges last year? Worst NHS trusts named and shamed as analysis reveals one saw profits jump 60-fold

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Written By Rivera Claudia

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  • One NHS trust increased its visitor parking income by almost 60-fold this year 
  • Car parking fees paid by staff soared by over eight-fold compared to last year

NHS trusts saw their car parking profits jump by up to 60-fold last year, MailOnline analysis shows.

Liverpool University Hospitals raked in £1.6million in parking fees in 2021/22. For comparison, the trust – which charges patients and visitors £3 for an hour of parking – made just £26,549 the year before.

Across the whole of England, hospital patients and visitors were forced to pay out £146million for car parking last year, or £400,000 every day.  

The overall sum was up 50 per cent on the £96.7m taken one year earlier and triple the £47.9m logged two years ago.

Critics branded parking charges a ‘tax on caring’ and accused ministers of failing to deliver on a Tory manifesto pledge to end the unfair fees.

This map shows the 10 NHS trusts in England with the largest percentage growth in income from parking charges for patients and visitors last year compared to the year prior. Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust recorded the biggest jump in parking income, with a 5,982.9 per cent increase last year, a huge boost compared to the £26,549 it recorded the year prior. Source: NHS data

Hospital patients and their visitors were made to fork out £146million in car parking charges (Stock Image)

Hospital patients and their visitors were made to fork out £146million in car parking charges (Stock Image)

Campaign groups also warned ‘sky high’ prices could put people off seeking care or deprive them of the support they get from visitors.

Analysis by this website, compiled into a search tool for readers, shows the burden is not being felt equally across the country. 

Other trusts that enjoyed massive boosts to their non-staff parking income last year included cancer treatment centre The Royal Marsden Hospital in London, and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust.

The former recorded £210,603 (an increase from £7,916) whereas the latter made £535,127 (an increase from £26,432). 

While Liverpool University Hospitals saw the largest percentage increase in parking income year-on-year, it wasn’t the biggest overall earner.

Graphic shows the ten NHS trusts with the highest income from parking charges

Graphic shows the ten NHS trusts with the highest income from parking charges

University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire made £5.2million from patient and visitor parking fees last year.

It was followed by University Hospitals of Derby and Burton NHS Foundation Trust, with £3.6million.

Meanwhile, parking fees paid by hospital staff soared eight-fold nationally compared to the previous year, from £5.6million in 2021/22 to £46.7million in 2022/23.

The enormous jump is because some parking charges scrapped during Covid were reintroduced in March last year.

The figures cover parking fees, permits, fines and VAT, but exclude any charges or costs incurred by trusts who use third-party parking contractors.

For example, some NHS hospitals in the UK don’t own their own car parks, instead leasing them from a private company. 

The current totals are still lower than before the pandemic, however. 

In 2019-20, patients and their visitors paid £199.2m for parking, and staff were charged £90.1m.

Current NHS guidance, updated in March last year, says disabled people, frequent outpatient attenders, parents of sick children staying overnight and staff working night shifts should park for free.

The guidelines also recommend that any charges are ‘reasonable for the area’ while deterring commuters and shoppers.

But 18 trusts still make disabled people pay for parking at some or all of their sites, NHS data suggests.

Daisy Cooper, health and social care spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, who uncovered national figures, said: ‘Hospital car parking fees are becoming a tax on caring for visitors and our hard-working NHS staff.

‘This Conservative Government is utterly failing to deliver on their promise to crack down on unfair hospital parking fees, and people are literally paying the price.’

A Tory spokesman said: ‘The Conservatives have fulfilled their manifesto pledge to end unfair charges for those in greatest need. The Lib Dems should come clean as to which services they would cut to subsidise parking further.’

Ministers were accused of failing to deliver on the Tory manifesto pledge to abolish unfair fees (Stock Image)

Ministers were accused of failing to deliver on the Tory manifesto pledge to abolish unfair fees (Stock Image)

Pictured: A sign for the visitor car park at Darlington Memorial Hospital (Stock Image)

Pictured: A sign for the visitor car park at Darlington Memorial Hospital (Stock Image)

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said they had provided free hospital parking in England for those most in need.

He added: ‘As of October 2022, all trusts that charge for car parking have fully implemented this commitment. This is the first time that free hospital car parking in England has been made available to those who need it the most.’

Dennis Reed, director of Silver Voices, which campaigns for elderly people, said: ‘There is no case for any parking charges for essential visits to hospital or for hospital workers.

‘Nobody goes to hospital to get some exercise walking around the corridors or to make use of the over-priced retail units.

‘Everyone is there because someone is very sick.

‘Hospital parking charges are often sky-high for very short visits and definitely act as disincentives for regular family visits to long-term patients.

‘And if you need to go to A&E, not only do you have to put up with hours of waiting, but you have to keep popping out to feed the greedy meters.

‘Parking charges in hospitals represent a very regressive way of raising funds for the NHS.’

Campaigners also voiced concerns that high charges could deter patients from seeking care (Stock Image)

Campaigners also voiced concerns that high charges could deter patients from seeking care (Stock Image)

NHS Trust gross income from car parking was up 50 per cent on last year. Pictured: A visitor car park at Brookland Hospital in Dover, Kent (File Image)

NHS Trust gross income from car parking was up 50 per cent on last year. Pictured: A visitor car park at Brookland Hospital in Dover, Kent (File Image)

Dr Matt Kneale, co-chair of Doctors Association UK, said: ‘The Doctors’ Association UK is alarmed by escalating car parking fees, which severely impact rotating doctors in training and, indirectly, patient care.

‘The existing system often mandates our colleagues to extend their already lengthy shifts to find parking.

‘This not only imposes a financial strain but also jeopardises staff wellbeing and safety, notably for those on night shifts or with irregular travel times.

‘Variable parking fees across NHS trusts create a postcode lottery, unfairly burdening staff working across multiple sites.

‘These challenges can also affect patient access to care, as high parking costs could deter necessary hospital visits.

‘We call on the Government to establish a fairer, more consistent parking policy for all NHS users, considering the broader implications on healthcare delivery.’

Patricia Marquis, director for England at the Royal College of Nursing, said: ‘For nursing staff and support workers, the soaring cost of parking takes too much of their low wage.

‘Nurses work around the clock to be there for their patients – and working odd shift times or in difficult locations means public transport is not always possible.

‘District nurses even pay their own fuel costs to travel to patients.

‘Government and the NHS must rethink – leaving nursing staff out of pocket just for doing their jobs is wholly unfair.

‘Ministers need to invest in nursing, otherwise even more will leave this brilliant profession – and it will be patients who ultimately pay the price.’

Pictured: A surface hospital car park in Lancaster (File Image)

Pictured: A surface hospital car park in Lancaster (File Image)

Pictured: A car park outside Macclesfield General Hospital in Cheshire (File Image)

Pictured: A car park outside Macclesfield General Hospital in Cheshire (File Image)

Professor Phil Banfield, chair of council at the British Medical Association, said: ‘The cost of parking on NHS sites in England is a long-standing issue for healthcare workers as well as patients; they are a covert tax on the sick, those who visit and those who care for them.

‘In the context of chronic underinvestment in our NHS, we can see that some of the revenue trusts bring in from parking charges is invested in patient care, but it remains yet another hike in the cost of living for healthcare staff already undervalued by the UK Government.

‘At a time when staff morale is at its lowest, they need to feel valued – too many are leaving, so of course the government should be looking again at these punitive charges.’

While most NHS trusts increased the amount of money they made off patients and visitors, a few recorded a reduction in income.

Sandwell and West Birmingham NHS Trust only recorded a parking income of £947 last year, a 99.8 per cent reduction on the year prior when it recorded £483,138.

East Cheshire NHS Trust and Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust also recorded notable reductions in parking income, dropping 86.3 per cent and 44.5 per cent respectively. 

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