28 per cent of NHS hospital trusts in England have been criticised for raising their parking charges between 2010 and 2011.
In September 2010, the government announced it would not back a pledge made by Labour to scrap parking charges in England's hospitals, saying the plan could not be justified.
And according to data from 197 hospital and mental health trusts in England, more than a quarter of hospital trusts increased their car parking charges for patients and visitors in 2011.
The figures, analysed by data company SSentif and provided to the NHS Information Centre by the trusts, also showed that only 16 per cent of the hospital trusts reduced their charges in the same year.
Some trusts were charging much more than the national average- 77p for an hour’s hospital parking- based on the average from a 3 hour stay.
In the year to last April, fees at United Lincolnshire NHS Trust jumped from 112 per cent from an average of 67p per hour to £1.42 per hour.
North West London Hospitals NHS Trust increased their fees to £1.58 per hour, an increase of 81 per cent from 88p.
Stockport NHS Foundation Trust and London’s Royal Marsden cancer hospital doubled their fee to £1 an hour.
And Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS tripled the charge to 75p per hour.
The data showed that patients in London and the South East of England paid the most for parking, whilst those in the South West were charged the least.
Patients’ groups have called for NHS parking to be free, as it is in most of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. However, ministers say making parking free would cost £100m from the already tight care budget.
Instead, NHS organisations are told to make use of public funds to set car parking charges at a reasonable budget.
One of the advantages of having private medical insurance is the chance to be treated at a private hospital, where parking is free of charge. Compare health insurance quotes now to avoid the impact of the budget cuts.
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