THE trust behind Queen's Hospital made more than £250,000 in profit from parking fees last year – thanks to a new system which has seen visitors sanctioned for using the site.
An annual report showed Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust collected £1,261,000 from people buying tickets in the last financial year, some £200,000 more than the year before.
Much of the money has been collected since the trust introduced the controversial Parking Eye system, an automatic numberplate recognition which has foxed many patients and visitors and led to them facing hefty fines for using the site.
Head of facilities Geoff Neild put the increase down to the fact that fewer people were now trying to cheat the car parking system.
He told the Mail: "Prior to the introduction of the new car park system five to 10 per cent of people abused the system by under-paying or making no attempt to pay.
"We are currently down to 0.5 per cent of people who make no attempt to pay.
"This increase in income has allowed us to simplify the tariff structure and, for the majority of patients and visitors, make the tariff cheaper."
The car parks within the trust cost £1 million a year to run, Mr Neild has said, with any surplus going on frontline healthcare.
Parking Eye allows the organisation to keep all income from car parking, while their money comes from the penalty charges collected from customers.
The £70 fines are sent to people who enter the wrong registration number, or who do not pay enough to park under the automatic numberplate recognition system.
In the months since it was first installed, many people have been scared into overpaying for their tickets to avoid a fine dropping through the letterbox.
The number of people receiving fines– or parking charge notices, as they are known – has dropped by a third in the last six months. There has been a 70 per cent drop in the number of complaints about parking, the trust has said.
Mr Neild has said in the past that Parking Eye was not installed to make money for the hospital trust.