Worcestershire hospital trusts named and shamed for charging for disabled parking - The Evesham Observer

Worcestershire hospital trusts named and shamed for charging for disabled parking

Evesham Editorial 31st Oct, 2017 Updated: 31st Oct, 2017   0

A WORCESTERSHIRE healthcare trust has been named and shamed by the national Labour Party over charging disabled drivers for parking at their hospitals.

According to the figures released by NHS Digital 139 hospital sites in England charge disabled patients and visitors for parking.

Among them is the Worcestershire Royal Hospital which is operated by the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust.

Justin Madders, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, said: “It is a disgrace that Jeremy Hunt has done nothing to tackle parking charges for disabled people, despite acknowledging himself that they are unfair.

“Disabled people often have no choice but to drive to hospital, and it’s wrong to target them with parking fees.

“The truth is hospitals are being forced to introduce or increase parking charges because they are desperately short of cash.

“This Government has caused a financial crisis in the NHS, and disabled people are paying the price.”

A spokesperson for the Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We regularly benchmark our car parking charges against other local hospital trusts to ensure that our charges remain in line with, or cheaper, than the average hospital parking charges.

“As some of our patients require regular visits to our hospitals, we also offer a special concessionary parking charge of £1 per day for parents visiting children in our care, patients with cancer and other long-stay patients and their visitors.”

She added the majority of income gained from the charges was invested back into the maintenance and upgrade of car parking and road systems and providing security.

“Any surplus is then put back in to funding frontline NHS services.”

A spokesman for Worcestershire Health and Care NHS Trust said: “We do have disabled parking spaces before you get to the main car park at the Princess of Wales Community Hospital which are free to those displaying the blue badge.

If those spaces are taken there are designated disabled parking bays in the main car park which are currently ‘paid for’, however we are reviewing this and are looking at options to enable those disabled drivers who have to park in the ‘paid for’ spaces to be reimbursed.”

He added income generated by car parking at the Princess of Wales Community Hospital was used to improve the service and environment.

“For example it contributed to the cost of new and clearer signage around the hospital, and we have also recently improved the waiting areas in the outpatient physio and podiatry area for patients and families.”

A Department of Health Spokesperson said: “Patients and families should not have to deal with the added stress of complex and unfair parking charges.

“NHS organisations are locally responsible for the methods used to charge, and we want to see them coming up with flexible options that put patients and their families first.”


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