A Hull MP has labelled hospital parking charges as “complete nonsense” during a Commons debate
Emma Hardy, the Labour MP for Hull West and Hessle, told The House of Commons that car parking charges at NHS hospitals need to be abolished.
She has co-sponsored the bill with Cleethorpes MP, Martin Vickers, in Parliament stating that hospital parking charges are a “sickness tax” for vulnerable people.
Despite the Hull and East Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust receiving over £1.5 million in car parking charges in 2016-17 Emma is backing the bill. She said:
“Much of the money does not go to the hospital, but often to the private operator of the car park”.
She also stated that NHS funding is the Government’s responsibility and not that of patients, staff or visitors.
On a national level hospital parking charges amount to £175m per year or £500,000 per day. This accounts for only 0.001 per cent of the NHS budget.
Parking at Hull hospitals is charged at £2 for up to one hour, £3 for up to two hours, and £5 for between two and 24-hours. In comparison to other cities in the UK this is about average:
The unfairness of the charges is clearly reflected in cases of patients who are in hospital for long periods of time. Parking charges added to the daily costs of traveling to visit loved ones can be a huge financial burden for visitors.
Emma Hardy gave the example of the effect on parents of premature and sick babies who spend many hours visiting. She said that parents were spending on average £32 a week to visit their babies. Which is “an unacceptable cost. All new, precious babies have the right to be with their parents—and not just the parents who can afford to pay to park their cars.”
The Labour Party has taken a strong stance on this issue:
It’s fundamentally wrong that patients, NHS staff and families visiting their loved ones have to pay for hospital car parking. That’s why Labour will deliver free hospital car parking and end this unfair tax on sickness. pic.twitter.com/WUuXMq1yQJ
— The Labour Party (@UKLabour) 1 February 2018
The debate in the House of Commons yesterday concluded: ” This House calls on the Government to undertake a consultation to identify the most efficient means of abolishing car parking charges at NHS hospitals in England for patients, staff and visitors and to provide the timescale for its implementation.”
In lay terms, this means that the fight to abolish hospital car parking charges continues but has been carried to the next level.