PARKING charges imposed by NHS trusts should be capped, Labour said yesterday after figures showed that they made a record £120 million last year from patients and visitors arriving by car.
Shadow community health minister Julie Copper made the call after statistics obtained through freedom of Information requests showed that over half of the 89 NHS trusts that responded charge disabled people to park at their hospitals.
Private companies are also raking in large sums from the charges.
At the North West London Healthcare NHS Trust, private company APCOA made a staggering £1.25 million from parking charges in 2015-16 and received a bumper pay-out of £167,357 in parking fines over the same period under the terms of a private finance initiative deal.
Ms Cooper said: “Hospitals cannot justify increasing car parking charges, nor can half of all NHS trusts justify charging disabled people for parking.
“The government urgently needs to address this situation and take steps to cap the amount hospitals can charge for car parking fees.”
Patients Association head Katherine Murphy said: “The shocking reality about car parking charges is that they are taking money from the sick and vulnerable to top up NHS coffers. This is not what car parking charges should be used for.
“The NHS is clearly underfunded, but the onus on meeting the funding crisis should most certainly not be shouldered by the sick, injured and vulnerable.”