SOME patients at Burton's Queen's Hospital could be spared from having to pay to park after the Government insisted free or greatly reduced prices must be made available for 'priority groups'.
The announcement will come as a relief to regular visitors to Queen's Hospital. Many have struggled to get their heads around the site's payment system, resulting in scores of fines.
The Mail was inundated with complaints in the months following the introduction of the Parking Eye system, with dozens of people complaining they had been unfairly penalised.
But under plans announced by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, hospitals across the country will be forced to waive fines for visitors who have a legitimate reason for running over the allotted time, such as treatment taking longer than expected.
Having to pay to park at hospitals is a thorny issue among many.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said parking charges placed an "added stress" on families at what is already a difficult time.
Burton MP Andrew Griffiths welcomed the move and called on Queen's bosses to "follow the guidance".
He said: "As one of the MPs calling for this reform, I really welcome the fact the Health Secretary is acting to prevent people from unfair and excessive car parking charges.
"One of my biggest postbags this year was over the car park at Queen's Hospital and I fully understand the frustrations and worry that excessive car parking charges cause.
"I would now urge the chief executive at Queen's to look at this guidance and see what can be done to provide free parking spaces for the disabled, elderly and people who are regular visitors."
Outlining his plan, Mr Hunt said: "Patients and families shouldn't have to deal with the added stress of unfair parking charges.
"These clear ground rules set out our expectations and will help the public hold the NHS to account for unfair charges or practices."
Charities including Macmillan Cancer Care also backed the plans.
Parking charges were the most common reason for patient complaints at UK hospitals last year.
It was revealed earlier this month that the trust which runs Burton's hospital raked in an extra £200,000 from parking fees during 2013-14.