DISABLED drivers are to be charged to park at Burton’s Queen’s Hospital.
Bosses will make blue badge holders pay the standard tariff from April 1 as they strive to ensure their parking regime does not drain resources from patient care.
Tony Waite, director of finance at Burton Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Queen’s, said: “The trust has to balance the needs of patients, visitors and staff and this decision will be discussed in detail with disabled users to ensure it is transparent and as fair as possible to everyone.
“We endeavour to keep parking fees as low as possible for patients, visitors and staff.
“However, we need to ensure the creation and maintenance of parking spaces does not impact on the finances allocated for direct patient care for our hospitals, which treat more than 400,000 patients a year.”
Under the new charging framework, blue badge holders will pay 80p for up to 30 minutes, £2 for 30 minutes to an hour, £2.50 for one to two hours, and £3 for two to three hours.
Longer stayers will be required to pay £3.50 for three to five hours, £4 for five to seven hours, and £6 for seven to 24 hours.
In a statement, the trust said concessions would remain for patients with long-term conditions who needed to attend Queen’s frequently over a long period for treatment such as dialysis and chemotherapy.
Meanwhile, discounted rates would be available for those wishing to pay weekly or monthly, with charges starting from £8 a week.
Justifying the move, the trust said more than 25 trusts in the country charged blue badge holders to park and said more were expected to follow suit.
It said the decision to revise parking fees at Queen’s was also consistent with recommendations and guidance outlined by the NHS Confederation, the membership body for services which commission and provide NHS services.
The trust said it had plans to improve parking facilities for disabled drivers visiting Queen’s.
“The existing disabled car park will be moved to a more accessible site closer to the main entrance, providing a level parking area for people with mobility problems,” it said.
The parking moves comes as bosses attempt to cut millions from their budget to help the NHS save billions.