NHS parking charges

There's some bad news if you are sick or are visiting a sick friend or relative in Goole. Northern Lincolnshire and Goole Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has increased parking charges at Goole Hospital. Charges have risen this month by a massive 13.33%, and then will increase again next September by the same amount. The amount of free parking time has also decreased from 40 minutes to 20 minutes.

Cllr Brent Huntingdon, the chairman of planning at Goole Town Council has said that will not be enough time to park-up, and get to the ward and back. Very true. It seems as if the Trust is determined to extract cash out of you. A spokesman for the Trust gave the usual, standard response:

“We’ve tried to make the charges as fair as possible in line with best practice national guidelines."

Although this is a massive increase, parking charges in Goole are not as bad as they are in Hull. Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust must have some of the highest parking charges in the country, charging £1.50 for the first hour; £2.50 for up to two hours, and £5 for over two hours, with a maximum stay of six hours. If you have to take your son or daughter to casualty because they have injured themselves, you have no idea how long you will be. Because it is 'pay and display' the hospital is almost guaranteed £5. You can't risk putting anything less in the machine, otherwise the parking wardens will fine you.

Although I don't object to hospitals making a charge for a well lit, secure car park, clearly most regard parking as an additional revenue stream, and because it is often difficult to park elsewhere, they have you over a barrel. Best practice national guidelines is a cop out. Massive charges, and massive increases in charges cannot be justified.

It will be interesting to see how charges differ around the country. Welsh hospitals don't have any charges, and there are only three hospitals in Scotland that charge. Send me some examples, and I'll prepare a list of those hospitals who are clearly taking out-patients and visitors for a ride!

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