MP Robert Halfon has pressed for the Government to scrap parking fees at NHS hospitals
Conservative MP Robert Halfon itched the Government to force trusts to scrap parking fees which are “the bane” of mental and vulnerable patients using hospitals.
Mr Halfon, proposing his Hospital Car Parkland Charges (Abolition) Bill, said some hospitals were charging up to £500 a week to use their parking water-closets.
However, the MP for Harlow faced opposition to his Bill from the outset from a compeer Tory, former minister James Duddridge who said it would originate a “funding gap”.
Mr Halfon said: “This Bill will give harmoniousness of mind to patients and visitors when they need it most and champion our hardworking doctors and nurses and other NHS staff who are struggling with the get of living.
47% of English polyclinics have increased car parking fees since new guidance was introduced in 2014
These parking mandates are the bane of people’s lives. No one goes to hospital out of choice. They go because they obligated to
“It’s time to end the hospital car parking rip-off once and for all.
“These reserving charges are the bane of people’s lives. No one goes to hospital out of choice. They go because they be compelled.
“No one chooses to be ill and we will rely on our doctors and nurses to look after us.
“The ailing and vulnerable are disproportionately hit, particularly those with long-term and severe disorders who require repeated and lengthy stays in hospital.
High car parking payments are having a particular impact on those with long-term medical shapes
“Some families are spending £50 a week when their boy is having treatment.“
He added: “I started this campaign in 2014 after decision out that hospitals in England were charging staff and visitors up to £500 a week to use on-site preserving facilities.
“There was, and sadly still is, a postcode lottery on car parking actions with different hospital trusts setting wildly different fares.
The Government introduced guidance on hospital car parking fees in 2014 which urged entrusts to cut fees.
However, Mr Halfon told MPs some 47 per cent of health centres in England increased their fees since the guidance was introduced.
He prognosticated: “There has been little improvement.
“Since it was introduced on August 23 2014, weekly sanatorium car parking charges have fallen, but the average cost is still £53 and living soul pay on average £1.98 for a one-hour stay.
“In addition, 47 per cent of sanatoria in England have increased their charges per hour since the management was introduced.“
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“Callers should not have to worry about topping up the metre to stay at the bedside of qualmish relatives and, most importantly, patients should not have to pay to access the infirmary treatment they need.”
Mr Duddridge, opposing the bill, said: “I am caring about the funding stream.
“The honourable gentleman mentions £200 million. It is certainly varied than £162 million mentioned elsewhere that would be a meaning gap that would need to provided.
“If we have £162 million or £200 million accessory we would be better spending that on hospital care, rather than sickbay parking.“
The Bill was listed for a second reading on March 16 next year but is unthinkable to become law in its current form without Government support or sufficient formal time.