Parking Charges

Posted by: Jonners on 27 December 2018

It's been reported that most hospitals increased car parking charges this year drawing a response from MPs and Unions its a tax on the sick and unfair on hospital workers. Hospitals defend this by stating the money raised goes back into patient care and car park maintenance. Fair enough but some of the hospitals are charging a lot, way more than shoppers would pay in town centre car parks. Scotland has scrapped them altogether. Should the rest of the UK follow suit?

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Hmack

Yes - in my view hospital parking charges should be scrapped.

Hospital charges have indeed been scrapped in all but 3 hospitals in Scotland. The 3 hospitals which retain charges are tied into financial contracts with private firms which could not be easily broken.

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Mike-B

Its a tough one,  is the parking for just a one off visit or appointment,  is it for an A&E type emergency & the time required is unknown,  is it a long term illness & daily even twice daily visits,  & that can cost a lot of money over time.        However I don't agree the parking charges should be scrapped as they still have to be maintained & a parking charge means the car user pays & not the NHS.

I see you are from Banbury Jonners,  so you might know what I'm on about.   I live near to Oxford where there are a lot of hospitals, including the Oxford University Hospitals group which has 4 large teaching/research hospitals (including Banbury's Horton)  The car parks are run by the OUH Trust & is not a commercial operation,  the money goes to patient & visitor services, including parking maintenance & development.   And therein lies the nightmare of the John Radcliffe hospital;  after years of making do they now have multistory plans in progress,  but at the moment it can be 1 hr & more queuing for a parking place,   the current OUH advice is to use one of the Park & Rides or take a bus.  

The actual parking charges are IMO reasonable compared to the city centre parking charges.    Up to 30 minutes is free,  then graduated from >1 hr for 1.40 up to the top limit of 4+ hrs for 7.00

City Centre parking is >1 hr 3.00,  >2 hrs 4.00,  ......  6 to 12 hours: 18.00    So shopping & city tourism is expensive although nights out,  theatre etc. after 5pm is only 3.50

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Jonners

It used to be said that hospitals charged for parking to deter commuters from using their car parks but I don't think anybody believed them. It's not just the charges though, it's the provision of disabled bays as well. This year I have had cause to ferry my dear old father over to hospitals various in Oxfordshire and as he holds a blue badge I make a bee line for disabled bays and what I've found at Witney, the JR, Churchill and Horton is there's not enough of them. Witney is particularly bad with only 4 bays, 2 of which are permanently occupied by paramedics vehicles. 

What I find particularly annoying is that visit any supermarket in Oxfordshire and not only do they have more Disabled bays than hospitals but they outnumber the parent and children spaces. I am not against charging for parking per se but I think there should be concessions for people who have a relative in for the long term. Maybe bus companies could add hospitals to their stops? That might help as well.

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by ewemon

Generally we don't have any parking charges for hospital parking (though there maybe a couple that do) in Scotland but try to get parked in my local is a nightmare. One of the hospital porters told me that they had to speak to a couple who parked their car up and then left to go on holiday abroad for 2 weeks. People also tend to use them as Park and ride car parks as there is an excellent bus service into the city centre.

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Mike-B
Jonners posted:

I think there should be concessions for people who have a relative in for the long term. Maybe bus companies could add hospitals to their stops? That might help as well.

OUH web site says  ....   Under certain circumstances, patients or visitors may be entitled to discounted or free parking at our hospital sites. Please ask your ward or contact the Car Parking Offices for guidance.

Look at OUH web site for bus services,  JR has numbers of services from all around the area to the hospital bus stop,  Horton is the same,  Churchill & NOC have stops just outside on the road. 

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Pev

Hospitals in Bristol are the 4th and 5th most greedy at 3.50 an hour! Another way they profiteer is by charging employees exorbitant amounts for parking, which is deducted from their wages - instant pay cut!

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Penarth Blues

Hospital Car Parks in Wales now free up to 4 hours, when you can extend your parking further for free. This deters all day commuters but doesn't penalise the patient and family. Parking still difficult though as there are never enough spaces for everyone who needs one - but this is common across all hospitals it seems.

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by tonym

"The money goes to patient care". Really? I'd like to see the audit trail that shows it. NHS Trusts are very good at trotting out that sentence as justification for such things, but in my experience very little, if anything, trickles down to direct patient treatment.

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Bruce Woodhouse

Hospital Trusts do not have enough money. If they are to provide adequate safe, well lit and well supervised parking this costs money. If all parking fees are scrapped there will be a hole in Trust budgets. How would you suggest it is filled, and how would you feel if they removed the lighting and security staff from the hospital car park?

Clearly has to be a balance but reasonable charges seem, well, reasonable, to me if the facilities provided are worthwhile and any profits go back to the Trust for the benefit of the patients, although the purpose for me should be to fund the parking service not primarily to raise additional income. Note that parking fees for staff are often higher than for patients, and irregular hours make public transport difficult for many staff.

I'm afraid I do also believe that people do need to pay for something to perhaps value and respect it. Non-patients abuse our surgery car park to go shopping all the time, but we don't have the resources (or inclination) to police it.

Bruce

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Bruce Woodhouse
tonym posted:

"The money goes to patient care". Really? I'd like to see the audit trail that shows it. NHS Trusts are very good at trotting out that sentence as justification for such things, but in my experience very little, if anything, trickles down to direct patient treatment.

Have you actual knowledge and experience of that, or do you just believe it? Where are you saying it goes?

Sorry to be arsey but I have direct involvement with Primary Care, CCG and NHS Trust funding management. NHS Foundation Trusts are public bodies, and the ways they generate and spend income is dictated by statute, it is also publically accountable. They may not make a profit and funds must be spent on public benefit, ie to deliver their mandated service. That does of course mean paying for the upkeep of estate, pay packets, heating and lighting as well as buying medicines and paying for beds and operations. All of that is visible in their public accounts. Ditto CCGs incidentally, but not GP surgeries in the main.

In the funding climate in which we live, and with the enormous pressure applied by CCGs on NHSFTs to deliver quality and efficiency my (direct) experience is that NHSFTs have become pretty lean and efficient because they cannot survive without.

Blaming the NHS funding shortfall on 'waste' is, in my opinion, a shorthand for failing to face the real issue. I'm not saying their isn't any but it is small beer against factors of increasing demand and complexity, demographic change and chronic underfunding.

Bruce

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by NAJB

Visiting a hospital is generally a distress activity/purchase, it is not normally a fun day out. Imagine if every time you broke down on a motorway you had to pay a parking fee to use the hard shoulder and your friendly AA (other rescue services are availbale) man had to do likewise? And Hospital workers most definitely should not pay to park, until and unless every parking space at offices/factories are also charged; and that is not likely to happen. I have a friend who worked at a local hospital and I believe he simply chose not to pay and was never challenged.    

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Jonners
NAJB posted:

Visiting a hospital is generally a distress activity/purchase, it is not normally a fun day out. Imagine if every time you broke down on a motorway you had to pay a parking fee to use the hard shoulder and your friendly AA (other rescue services are availbale) man had to do likewise? And Hospital workers most definitely should not pay to park, until and unless every parking space at offices/factories are also charged; and that is not likely to happen. I have a friend who worked at a local hospital and I believe he simply chose not to pay and was never challenged.    

I agree. Commuters and shoppers aside, I think it would be true to say that most people who go to hospital are either working there, a day patient or visiting friends and family. Regarding your friend NAJB who chose not to pay, you only have to go on the moneysavingexpert.com website and go to forum on parking fines and so on to read how many hospital staff are picking up parking notices and wondering if they can challenge them. I think he is likely to be in the minority if he can ignore parking fees at his workplace with impunity. I don't have a problem with charging per se, it's the amount they charge. To get round the commuters, if hospitals had the first 2 hours free and then charged for every hour afterwards (and prevent advance ticket purchases), that would deter the day trippers, etc. Witney in Oxfordshire does not have this problem though. All its parking in town is completely free of charge, it's only the hospital where you have to pay and ironically where I've struggled for a disabled space.

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by winkyincanada
Pev posted:

Another way they profiteer is by charging employees exorbitant amounts for parking, which is deducted from their wages - instant pay cut!

Another way to view this is that they are incentivising employees to choose more sustainable modes of commuting. Yet another way is to consider that they are charging a fee for a service that costs them money to provide. It would be unfair on those that take the bus to work to provide a free service to drivers only, unless it is matched by rebates to non-drivers.

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Don Atkinson
Bruce Woodhouse posted:

Hospital Trusts do not have enough money. If they are to provide adequate safe, well lit and well supervised parking this costs money. If all parking fees are scrapped there will be a hole in Trust budgets. How would you suggest it is filled, and how would you feel if they removed the lighting and security staff from the hospital car park?

Clearly has to be a balance but reasonable charges seem, well, reasonable, to me if the facilities provided are worthwhile and any profits go back to the Trust for the benefit of the patients, although the purpose for me should be to fund the parking service not primarily to raise additional income. Note that parking fees for staff are often higher than for patients, and irregular hours make public transport difficult for many staff.

I'm afraid I do also believe that people do need to pay for something to perhaps value and respect it. Non-patients abuse our surgery car park to go shopping all the time, but we don't have the resources (or inclination) to police it.

Bruce

You can't SERIOUSLY be asking such a *** ****** ****** question less that two years after some ****** put 350m per week on the side of a ******* red bus !!!!!

Seriously, that comment made my blood boil !

TAX is the answer to that comment. Income TAX. VA-TAX, Business TAX, Fuel DUTY TAX any sort of ******* TAX.

*****. Stop ******* about around the edges of our problems and fund the NHS from TAX and make it "Free" at the point of need, or virtually free.

PS I have removed all the colourful words that I typed during my initial outrage !

On a more calm and hopefully rational note, our local Waitrose store has a "funded" car park where we pay 1 per hour, rising steeply after 2 hours, but all is refunded at the till if you shop there. 

Perhaps the NHS could do something similar ?

Oh, and the car park at Lulworth Cove asks you to type in your Car Reg on arrival, with the option of typing it back in on departure, so you don't have to "guess" how long you need to stay. You pay for what you use.

Perhaps the NHS could do something similar, even in connection with the "Waitrose" option above ?

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by winkyincanada
Don Atkinson posted:
Bruce Woodhouse posted:

Hospital Trusts do not have enough money. If they are to provide adequate safe, well lit and well supervised parking this costs money. If all parking fees are scrapped there will be a hole in Trust budgets. How would you suggest it is filled, and how would you feel if they removed the lighting and security staff from the hospital car park?

Clearly has to be a balance but reasonable charges seem, well, reasonable, to me if the facilities provided are worthwhile and any profits go back to the Trust for the benefit of the patients, although the purpose for me should be to fund the parking service not primarily to raise additional income. Note that parking fees for staff are often higher than for patients, and irregular hours make public transport difficult for many staff.

I'm afraid I do also believe that people do need to pay for something to perhaps value and respect it. Non-patients abuse our surgery car park to go shopping all the time, but we don't have the resources (or inclination) to police it.

Bruce

You can't SERIOUSLY be asking such a *** ****** ****** question less that two years after some ****** put 350m per week on the side of a ******* red bus !!!!!

Seriously, that comment made my blood boil !

TAX is the answer to that comment. Income TAX. VA-TAX, Business TAX, Fuel DUTY TAX any sort of ******* TAX.

*****. Stop ******* about around the edges of our problems and fund the NHS from TAX and make it "Free" at the point of need, or virtually free.

PS I have removed all the colourful words that I typed during my initial outrage !

 

We're in complete agreement here. I'm adding additional outrage that our transit services are often (usually) so poor that for many, driving is the only practical way to get to hospitals in the first place. Maybe money from parking charges should be funnelled back into that.

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Guinnless
Don Atkinson posted:
<snip>

On a more calm and hopefully rational note, our local Waitrose store has a "funded" car park where we pay 1 per hour, rising steeply after 2 hours, but all is refunded at the till if you shop there. 

Perhaps the NHS could do something similar ?

How would you propose to get the refund from the hospital ?

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Bruce Woodhouse

Interesting comments all!

The truth is we are dealing with the current situation and NHSFTs are in a position to try to recoup some costs by charging parking fees. Until the money fairy lands and sorts out their problems it is hard to blame them looking for all possibly help to their balance sheet.

Reasonable fees, and maybe first 2hrs free all seems sensible, but totally free will be abused, and spaces blocked for more deserving users.

Bruce

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Don Atkinson
Guinnless posted:
Don Atkinson posted:
<snip>

On a more calm and hopefully rational note, our local Waitrose store has a "funded" car park where we pay 1 per hour, rising steeply after 2 hours, but all is refunded at the till if you shop there. 

Perhaps the NHS could do something similar ?

How would you propose to get the refund from the hospital ?

I'll ask Richard to transfer your post to the "Best Jokes" thread where it clearly belongs !

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Don Atkinson
Bruce Woodhouse posted:

Interesting comments all!

The truth is we are dealing with the current situation and NHSFTs are in a position to try to recoup some costs by charging parking fees. Until the money fairy lands and sorts out their problems it is hard to blame them looking for all possibly help to their balance sheet.

Reasonable fees, and maybe first 2hrs free all seems sensible, but totally free will be abused, and spaces blocked for more deserving users.

Bruce

I disagree, politely this time, but I disagree. They are targetting vulnerable people, who are in a stressful situation, made unnecessarily more stressful, basically in a form of highway robbery, ie they have no choice but to pay, and the price just goes up.

I agree with the concept of small "anti-abuse" payments for some aspects of the NHS service, I guess prescription charges is one form, but IMHO parking could be handled far more sensitively than it is.

If Waitrose can do it, i'm sure the NHS could !

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Bruce Woodhouse

No probs Don. I agree in principle actually, but trying to be pragmatic!

When we sit and look at the numbers if we cut money from one source we have to find it from another, or cut something. Neither is generally straightforward.

Bruce

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Guinnless
Don Atkinson posted:
Guinnless posted:
Don Atkinson posted:
<snip>

On a more calm and hopefully rational note, our local Waitrose store has a "funded" car park where we pay 1 per hour, rising steeply after 2 hours, but all is refunded at the till if you shop there. 

Perhaps the NHS could do something similar ?

How would you propose to get the refund from the hospital ?

I'll ask Richard to transfer your post to the "Best Jokes" thread where it clearly belongs !

It was your suggestion. I was just asking how it would be implemented

For out-patients the letter you received could be barcoded, this is then scanned by the ticket machine and along with your vehicle registration gives you a couple of hours free parking.

Visitors could pre-pay and get a barcode to be scanned in a similar way.

As long as the NHS get the profit from the parking and charges are not excessive for a few hours then it's all good , surely?

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Don Atkinson
Guinnless posted:
Don Atkinson posted:
Guinnless posted:
Don Atkinson posted:
<snip>

On a more calm and hopefully rational note, our local Waitrose store has a "funded" car park where we pay 1 per hour, rising steeply after 2 hours, but all is refunded at the till if you shop there. 

Perhaps the NHS could do something similar ?

How would you propose to get the refund from the hospital ?

I'll ask Richard to transfer your post to the "Best Jokes" thread where it clearly belongs !

It was your suggestion. I was just asking how it would be implemented

For out-patients the letter you received could be barcoded, this is then scanned by the ticket machine and along with your vehicle registration gives you a couple of hours free parking.

Visitors could pre-pay and get a barcode to be scanned in a similar way.

As long as the NHS get the profit from the parking and charges are not excessive for a few hours then it's all good , surely?

At Waitrose, everybody gets a two-part ticket. One part for the windscreen, the other to hand over to the till-operator. I'm sure the NHS receptionist could cope as well as Waitrose's till-operator.

As for your last paragraph, well, no, I do not agree. I do not consider that patients (or close relative/carer visitors) should be asked to pay to use an NHS car park. Perhaps less close friends and well-wishers could pay, and consider the parking fee simply as part of the overall "journey" cost to visit a sick friend. eg we travel 30 mile round trips to visit a friend in The Royal Berks in Reading. We simply accept the extra 4 to park as part of the overall elective visitor costs. But we feel very strongly that our friend's wife, who visits twice a day, shouldn't have to pay. I accept that many people do not share my view. It disappoints me, but that's life !

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by MDS

I don't agree with car parking charges, which in my area, South London, are punitive.  People don't visit hospitals for leisure: you're either visiting to receive treatment or visiting someone who is hospitalised. If you go to A&E you have no control over the time you are going to spend there, which is usually many, many hours and produces an expensive parking bill. I have found myself having to visit A&Es and hospitals (family member illness) many times over a period of a few months.  The whole experience is stressful and tiring enough, without the final sting-in-the tail of having to pay around a tenner or more to leave the hospital car park.  I found myself reflecting several times that while I could afford it, for very many families such charges would really hurt.  Immoral and nothing more than a tax on being sick or injured.  Bravo to the Scottish and Welsh governments for doing the right thing. I see the Labour party has pledged to abolish them in England.       

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by Jonners
MDS posted:

 I see the Labour party has pledged to abolish them in England.       

Indeed and this was a lityle-known manifesto pledge for UKIP in the last election Farage led them, along with scrapping HS2, I seriously had to consider my vote as both are subjects close to my heart.

Posted on: 27 December 2018 by MDS

Probably a matter for a separate thread but I just don't 'get' HS2.  East/West rail improvements like the new Elizabeth line I can understand but North/South seems well served already.