Hospitals such as King’s Mill in Sutton are being forced to charge ill patients car-parking fees because the NHS is so underfunded, claims Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero.
In a debate at the House Of Commons, the Labour MP said the Conservatives had failed to keep their promise to suppress or restrain parking charges at hospitals.
Addressing Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth, Gloria said: “Do you agree that when funding is cut, our hospitals seek to raise cash in other ways, such as the unacceptable level of car-parking charges at our hospitals? Charges which the government promised, before the last election, to clamp down on?”
Patients and visitors to King’s Mill Hospital and both the Queen’s Medical Centre and City Hospital in Nottingham are all charged to park their cars on site.
The first 15 minutes is free, but then it costs £1.80 for up to an hour at King’s Mill, and £2 at the Nottingham hospitals.
Parking for one to four hours is £3.50 at King’s Mill, while four to six hours is £5.50 and six to 24 hours is £7. At the Nottingham hospitals, one to two hours is £4, two to four hours is £5 and more than four hours is £6. Weekly tickets are also available.
Gloria said: “The NHS is struggling financially under this Tory government, which is not providing it with the funding it needs.
“Hospital trusts are therefore forced to look to top up their income elsewhere and car-parking charges are an obvious answer.
“It is not fair that ill people and their families are having to bail out hospital finances because the government is not funding the health service adequately.”
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has come under increasing pressure to put an end to what some of his own Tory backbenchers have described as “rip-off costs”. One MP said hospital parking “has become a stealth tax on the vulnerable”.