Thank you for contacting me about hospital parking charges.
I agree with you that patients and their families should not have to deal with the added stress of unfair parking charges at what may already be an extremely difficult time. That is why I am glad that the Government's NHS car parking guidance for NHS trusts sets out the mandatory requirement to provide free parking for those with the greatest need. This includes disabled people, frequent outpatient attenders, parents of sick children staying overnight and staff working night shifts. This will eliminate costs for those in need while making sure there are enough spaces for everyone.
NHS trusts have also been encouraged to consider concessions for other groups, like volunteers and staff who car share, as well as establishing 'pay on exit' schemes to ensure that drivers only pay for the time that they have used. These actions are voluntary but the Government has said that all trusts should implement them wherever possible. NHS trusts are required to publish their parking policy, implementation of NHS car parking principles and financial information relating to their car parking to ensure that patients are able to hold them to account.
The Government provided funding for free parking in hospital car parks for NHS staff during the pandemic. This temporary measure gave much needed assistance during such a difficult time, but in light of the wider changes to the Government’s Covid-19 response, this has come to an end. I am assured however that 98 per cent of NHS Trusts that charge for car parking have implemented free parking for those in greatest need, including NHS staff working overnight.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.