Friday, 25 January 2013

Hospital Parking Charges

I previously wrote about the horrendous parking charges in some public places, the worst being at the O2 where we paid £25 for just a few hours!

However, what I find quite worrying is the cost of using some hospital car parks. Individuals attending hospital do so out of necessity, not for pleasure, whether it’s for an appointment, treatment or to see an ailing loved one. It’s one thing to have to pay to park, it’s another thing all together to pay higher charges than you would to visit your local shopping centre, for example.

Parking at my local hospital, Medway Maritime, was free years ago, but as the hospital has expanded, charges have been introduced and risen. For anything up to the first hour, the fee is £1.50, which meant that when we recently attended for a quick test that involved parking for just 20 minutes, this was the charge we had to pay. The next couple of hours after this are charged at 50p each, but after 3 hours you pay an extra £1 per hour, where is the logic in that? The charge is capped at £5, however.

Parking charges at some other hospitals although not exactly reasonable are at least a bit more logical. For example, Queen Victoria Hospital at East Grinstead charges £1 per hour for up to 3 hours, with between 4 and 10 hours charged at a flat £4 fee. Similarly Darent Valley, Dartford charges £1 per hour for the first 4 hours, with a £5 flat fee thereafter.

Whilst not extortionate, these charges are higher than I would have to pay at my local shopping centres (average 70p per hour) and I do object to hospitals that charge an inflated fee for the first hour.

It is fair to say that many hospitals charge a reduced flat fee of £1 per session for disabled drivers and those receiving treatment for conditions such as cancer, but even this can vary somewhat. For example, Medway Maritime no longer gives such concessions, with disabled drivers paying the same as others, which I feel is a bit bizarre.

What are your thoughts and experiences of hospital parking charges?

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