Chesterfield Royal Hospital is netting more than a million a year by charging patients and visitors to park

Chesterfield Royal hospital is one of over 60 hospital trusts out of 99 to receive a rating of 'requires improvement'.
Chesterfield Royal hospital is one of over 60 hospital trusts out of 99 to receive a rating of 'requires improvement'.

Chesterfield Royal Hospital earned more than a million pounds from parking charges in the last financial year, new figures have revealed.

The trust made a total of £1.19m in 2014-15 - making it one of the 50 per cent of hospitals in England to be making at least a million a year from patient and visitor parking.

And with a parking increase introduced in October at the Chesterfield Road hospital, the amount made in 2015-16 could be even higher.

The current pricing structure is: up to 30 minutes free, 30 minutes to one hour £2, one to two hours £2.70, two to four hours £3.70, four to 24 hours £5.70,. A 14 visit discount pass is also available for £14.

Before October, at the time the research relates to, prices at the hospital were: 30 minutes to one hour £1.80 one to two hours £2.50, two to four hours £3.50, four to 24 hours £5.50.

But the figure charged by Chesterfield Royal pales into insignificance compared to some neighbouring hospitals - with trusts in both Derby and Sheffield making even more.

Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has been named as one of the seven highest earning trusts from parking, netting a massive £3.16m in 2014-15.

Meanwhile, Derby Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Derby Royal Hospital, earned £2.56 - one of eight trusts nationally making between £2m-£3m annually.

King’s Mill Hospital, near Mansfield, was not on the list of the £1m-plus annual parking earners, and only recently increased parking prices following a four-year freeze.

It now charges the rates that Chesterfield Royal did before October.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, branded the charges “morally wrong”.

She said: “We are concerned that hospitals in England still charge patients for car parking.

“Why is it that patients in Wales and Scotland do not have to pay to park? It is a postcode lottery and a tax on sick people who sometimes struggle to pay.

“The money is never reinvested in frontline services. Hospital car parks are often managed by private contractors who take a huge percentage of the profits.

“This is morally wrong - and charging disabled people is a disgrace.”

Chesterfield Royal recently came under fire from double amputee patient David Bartram, who accused the trust of profiteering over the recent price rise.

Mr Bartram, of Dale Road, New Tupton, claimed the ‘unwarranted’ increase is imposing financial hardship on pensioners and says prices must be reduced.

Mr Bartram said: “Surely this increase is unwarranted. It is yet again imposing financial hardship upon people like myself, a pensioner.”

He said that after having two amputations, visits to the hospital are a regular occurrence.

Mr Bartram added: “Hopefully bosses will show a little compassion and generosity in setting some new charges a pensioner can afford.

A spokesperson for the hospital said: “We introduced secure barrier parking in the late 1990s and now have 12 car parks on site with more than 2,000 spaces. “The car parks are managed by the hospital and money raised from the charges pays for non-patient care essentials such as car park and grounds maintenance, ensuring our highways and car parks are adequately lit and carrying out repairs to these areas when necessary.

“We review the costs every few years to ensure that our charges are kept in line with town centre parking and those of our neighbouring hospitals.”