I had been meaning to post something about Hospital parking charges. Locally, Andy King has an ongoing campaign on the issue, and a couple of weeks ago I saw Mike Ion’s post calling for a change at a national level. However, my laziness meant that it’s only now that Andy Burnham has announced a rethink by the government that I’ve gotten around to it.
What Burnham has announced will only really affect inpatients and their visitors – the idea is that for the duration of their stay, an inpatient will get the means for family or friends to get free parking. Outpatients (some of whom do need to visit hospital very frequently) won’t benefit. Still, it is a step in the right direction.
The cost should not affect hospital or other health spending, however (not a problem at the moment, as the NHS is running at a surplus of about 10 times the amount made from parking charges).
I would prefer it if parking could be free for all patients and those who visit them regularly. However, there are pitfalls involved in that approach, especially in locations near to town centres where parking is at a premium – it should be ensured that commuters and shoppers don’t take up all the free spaces. I’m sure there are ways to do it – after all, you can get free parking at Asda if you shop there, simply by getting a ticket validated.