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NHS: Free parking for some patients and visitors rolled out from April | UK News



Free parking four thousands of NHS patients and their visitors will be rolled out in England from April.

Blue badge holders and patients who attend regular appointments for long-term health conditions will get free hospital parking under plans being outlined later today.

All hospital trusts in England will also be expected to give free parking at specific times for parents with sick children staying overnight and staff on night shifts.

Health trusts manage their own car parking and reinvest the profits into frontline care.

The Department of Health was not planning to set aside funding to reimburse NHS trusts that will see their finances hit by the Conservative Party manifesto pledge.


NHS ‘on its knees’

A spokeswoman for the department said trusts “will be supported” to ensure the policy does not affect care.

Dr Moira Fraser-Pearce, a director at Macmillan Cancer Support, called for other promises to be brought in to see a “sorely needed” boost to the NHS workforce.

“Cancer can be a huge burden on your finances and in England hospital car parking charged – especially for those undergoing regular treatment – can add significantly to this strain.

“This long-awaited announcement will be a game-change for many, allowing them to attend appointments and focus on their health without the extra worry about their finances.”

One in three hospitals in England raised the cost of parking last year, according to a PA study.

Research showed hospitals made more than £254m from parking in 2018/19 – up 10% on the previous year.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “One of the concerns mentioned regularly on the doorsteps was that vulnerable people, and staff working nights, have to pay for hospital car parking.

“Currently, the situation varies from hospital to hospital. Instead, from April, across the country those with the greatest need, such as disabled people, parents staying overnight with sick children in hospital, and NHS staff working night shifts, will no longer have to pay for parking.”

Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “Labour MPs have longed campaigned for hospital car parking charges to be ditched.

“But yet again patients will have to examine the small print as many will still have to pay over the odds just because they are ill.”

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