Published: 14/09/2010 08:00

New parking charges at Queen's Hospital

Written byADRIAN JENKINS

BURTON’S Queen’s Hospital is introducing new concessionary parking charges in a bid to simplify the system and slash administration time.

Hospital suffers mixed fortunesFrom October 1, visitors will be offered a weekly pass for £8 or a monthly ticket for £25, replacing a system managers say has not been reviewed for some time and is unwieldy.

Partial refunds, in which the amount to be repaid is £10 or more, are currently only considered for frequent attendances, unexpected admissions and lengthy stays.

Alan Clark, the managing trust’s head of estates and facilities, said, however, that this old system would be replaced by the two new charges following ‘a thorough review of parking concessions’.

“The policy for concessionary parking has not been reviewed for a number of years and the new rates compare favourably with other hospitals,” he said.

“The new tariff simplifies the system for patients and their visitors and cuts down on the time spent on administering the system.”
Free car parking would remain available for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and for bereaved relatives, he said.
 
The new car parking passes will be available from the car park office, in the Portakabin opposite the entrance to the main car park, from 7am to 9pm daily.
 

The changes will only affect concessionary parking charges and standard charges will remain the same.

The new tariffs were announced as the coalition Government distanced itself from a pledge made by the previous Labour administration to abolish hospital parking charges in England.

Health Minister Simon Burns said the Government was ‘unconvinced’ that Labour’s car parking policy, set to save the public about £110 million a year, was properly funded or practical in the current economic climate.

Burton MP Andrew Griffiths agreed that parking charges were almost certainly here to stay and said: “There’s no doubt Labour was promising billions of pounds as election bribes, knowing full well that the money was not there to pay for them.

“Like a lot of people, I would like to see an end to hospital parking charges, but I also recognise that for many hospitals, they bring in a vital income stream.

“We’ve got some tough calls ahead and if scrapping car parking charges meant that front-line NHS services would be under pressure, then, unfortunately, I accept that the parking charges would need to stay.”
Labour counterpart Ruth Smeeth, said: “I find Andrew’s comments surprising given that the one thing we’ve been promised by the Government is that the NHS budget will be ring-fenced — so this is obviously an exercise in back-tracking on that policy.”
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