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Burton's Queen's Hospital trust rakes in £250,000 profit on car parks

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 09, 2014

Burton's Queen's Hospital

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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.

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  • burtonbloke1  |  August 13 2014, 4:27PM

    Geoff Nield says that any surplus goes on frontline healthcare. More power to his elbow. Are Staffs trying to sell off Oncology? We should be more concerned about that.

  • Confucius  |  August 11 2014, 6:45AM

    SAYS 'Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without'.

    |   1
  • newborough  |  August 10 2014, 7:13PM

    How the hell does it cost £1m/year to run a car park? Someone is obviously ripping us off. I thought the government were supposed to have stopped these car park cowboys.

    |   5
  • mattlong  |  August 10 2014, 1:26PM

    What we are witnessing is the increasing marketization of all areas of life. This is a deeper social process which has been occurring since the 1980s. Whilst not 'caused' by Margaret Thatcher, its has (a) undoubtedly been sped up by Thatcherite policies dating back to the 1980s and (b) it is the ramming of market logic into all areas of social life which is what is problematic. Successive governments of both 'left' and 'right' have in my opinion continued much of this ideology which we have from the 'New Right' from the 1980s.

    |   1
  • add74  |  August 10 2014, 9:30AM

    Maybe they'll invest this unexpected windfall in providing services in line with NHS guidelines, such as IVF for women over 39? Oh no that's right, they just charge people for that as well!

    |   1
  • Terry  |  August 09 2014, 10:19PM

    Well, I suppose they have to raise the cash to pay the inflated pay of the failing bosses at the hospital. They (namely the CEO ) should be ashamed of themselves, they cannot run a hospital, never mind a car park.

    |   6
  • mattlong  |  August 09 2014, 11:49AM

    As a volunteer worker at the hospital I am ashamed to be associated with the place over this whole disgraceful affair. How on earth can people visiting sick relatives be treated in the same way as people who say default on car parking charges in Sainsbury's. The people who I help support in my role at the hospital are NOT customers deciding which car park they can pick and choose and which hospital they can visit their relative in. They are citizens of our town. Does anyone park in Queens car park deliberately then slope off to do shopping round Horninglow or Outwoods?! Its a ridiculous line of logic. The relatives I see on the ward spend some time with their loved ones and then dash off back home or to work. To suggest people want to pay say for an hour at the hospital and then sit there on a ward looking at their loved ones stuck in a bed for a few extra hours just to 'cheat' the system is barmy.

    |   12
  • burtonWitness  |  August 09 2014, 9:52AM

    Its a bloody disgrace that parking your car is made priority above the care of patients, the first port of call in visiting the hospital for whatever reason, seems to be....How do we fleece the "customer" of as much money as possible. The last thing anyone needs, in an already stressful environment, is the worry of fines, penalties & complicated money raking machines. As a tax payer, I am already fleeced by the National Insurance contributions every month of which I do not get value for money for as I never visit the medical profession unless I am on deaths door.

    |   11