Hospital parking charges

Hospital should be free. It is unfair and unjust and is just a tax on the sick. Why is it that we in England have to pay and the rest of the UK (Scotland, Wales and Ireland) don’t? This is racial discrimination. Charging for 24 hours seven days a week is not right. I took a friend to the A & E one Sunday morning at 4am, using my car as an ambulance and by the time she got treated and given a bed on a ward, it cost me £5. I went back to visit her in the evening and it cost me another £2. This is extortion.

It can be very stressful for a sick person to not only have to worry about being sick; they also have to worry about the time they are in the car park. Every week I have to have a blood test and on most occasions I am not there more that 20 minutes, but I have to pay £2, which is the minimum in my hospital.

It is also unfair for pensioners who have to visit their hospital frequently, even if they don’t have a car, as they have to try and get someone to take them, so they still have to pay. It is quite expensive if you are not on a very good pension, and most of us aren’t.

You usually can’t park in the surrounding roads as they are usually No Parking zones, or Residents Only parking. I recently had a minor out-patients operation. The first day I had to go for pre-assessment, I was 1 and 3/4 hours and I was late being seen (£2), one day for a blood test, that was 20 minutes (£2) and one day for the operation which was 4 and a half hours (£5). The total cost to me in the car park was  £9, and I thought that the health service was free.

Now here are some questions I don’t seem to be able to get answers to:

Why do disabled people have to pay? How much is taken at a hospital in one year? How much do the private companies get from this figure? How much does the installing and maintenance of the parking machines and barriers cost? How much does it cost to supply staff to manage it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? How much does it cost for a security firm to empty the machines? Why don’t the machines give change? How much does the hospital actually get?

A couple of years ago a friend of mine went to visit someone in hospital on Christmas Day and it cost £4 in the car park. Now when a person visits someone in hospital, they are easing the pressure off the nurses while they are there so why should we have to pay? This is not right so what should be done?

If the hospitals have to charge they should make either the first two hours free, and if the patients treatment lasts more than two hours, then the doctors treating the patient should let the parking department know so they don’t have to pay. Another answer is to have voluntary collecting boxes at the car park exits. This way you can put in what you can afford, the hospital gets all the money that is collected and not a private company. The hospital could also have a notice by the exit stating what they need the money for, say, a scanner or other equipment.

To sum up, and I could have said a lot more – is charging for hospital parking just and fair? Why is it only England in the UK that pays? Why should we have to pay when we take a person to and from hospital, when we are using our car as an ambulance? Why should nurses have to pay? Why do we pay throughout the night, Sundays and Bank Holidays, when there isn’t any public transport? How much is taken and how much does the hospital get?

Peter Nassan