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.
October 1, 2009 at 09:46
At Salford Royal (formally Hope) relatives of in patients can buy a weekly ticket with a letter from the ward. It costs around £6/7, which is less that parking twice in one day for 2 hours (visiting times).
Maybe something can be set up that is similar, and free?
October 1, 2009 at 19:22
That does sound like it could be the basis for what Burnham has proposed.
However, if that can be done, then something similar (a letter or reference used to provide a ticket) could be provided for outpatients too – although it would be a bit more tricky as it would presumably only be valid at the times of their clinic visits.
October 2, 2009 at 14:19
At Salford they have pay as you leave ticket barriers. They give you one ticket that is valid for multiple visits for 7 days.
It works really well for multiple visits over a few days but I am not sure how it would work with once a week visits.
Also, with pay and display tickets, which many hospitals are.