Sunday, 18 October 2015

Parking at Ashford and St. Peter's Hospital how bad is it?.

It would be good to read that Ashford and St. Peter's Hospitals were fifth in the country for something but this isn't a good thing.

According to a Sun newspaper investigation the trust made the fifth largest amount of money from charging it's patients, visitors and staff for parking.

It's not as though it's in an expensive parking area.

I took this article from the Bath Chronicle as the Murdoch group of newspapers charge for access;

Bath Chronicle                 
Royal United Hospital in Bath collected more than £1 million in parking fees
last year

By Amanda Cameron  |  Posted: October 17, 2015
The Royal United Hospital in Bath raked in more than £1 million in parking fees
last year, it has been reported.

An investigation by The Sun found that the hospital was among eight NHS trusts
in the country that collected at least £1 million from patients and visitors who
parked in hospital grounds last year.

The newspaper obtained data on parking fees from 100 NHS hospitals in England
under the Freedom of Information Act.

Those hospitals made a total of £38.86 million in 2014/15, up from £37.71
million the year before.
This is despite Secretary of Health Jeremy Hunt promising last year to clamp
down on the parking fees charged by NHS trusts.

The Royal United Hospital collected £1,063,885 in parking revenue last year,
putting it seventh among eight hospitals that hauled in more than a million

John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford came top of the list, raking in £1,880,961.
It was followed by Northwick Park Hospital in London, which collected
£1,847,851, and New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton which collected £1,546,380.

Next on the list were Birmingham's Heartlands Hospital with £1,490,035, St
Peter's Hospital in Ashford, Surrey, with £1,438,490 and Good Hope Hospital in
the West Midlands with £1,101,690.

Conservative MP Stephen Metcalfe has admitted that figures are "very worrying"
while Labour MP Frank Field called on Mr Hunt to "seek powers to instruct trusts
that they should not be charging" the public for parking at NHS hospitals.

So where did the money go?

I thought I'd take a closer look at the story because the Health Minister promised to stop Hospital's ripping off people who visit or work there and need to park.

It doesn't seem to have happened.

I checked out some other Freedom of Information requests and found this one, the car parking accounts for 2013;


Travel plan Income and Expenditure Streams 2013/14


Income from car parking                                                                          1,750,000

Pay costs from Security

- Travel plan / CCTV / Security offices                                                    (160,000)

- Staff Hopper Bus                                                                                     (210,000)

- 24hr Car park / security management                                                     (100,000)

Non-Pay Includes

- Car pack ticket, barrier maintenance & management contracts              (195,000)

- Road markings                                                                                         (10,000)

- General repairs, gritting                                                                           (10,000)

- Rent                                                                                                          (15,000)

- Grounds maintenance contracts                                                               (30,000)

- Patient ambulance (NEPT) contracts                                                       (95,000)

- Miscellaneous expenses                                                                           (7,500)

Site Improvements Funds

- Lighting, CCTV, security, traffic flow improvements                             (25,000)

- Fencing / Bollard improvements                                                               (20,000)

- Signage improvements                                                                              (10,000)

Other Indirect Costs


- 10% of cashiers time                                                                                   (7,000)

- Bank charges for cash                                                                                 (3,000)

Maintenance staff recharge                                                                           (12,500)

Estates & Facilities Management recharge                                                    (15,000)

Business rates recharge (10%)                                                                      (115,000)

Estimate for electricity supplies to lighting, ticket machines & barriers       (35,000)


Capital Charges

- Maple decked car park                                                                                  (95,000)

- Abbey Wing decked car park                                                                        (45,000)

- Other car parks                                                                                              (380,000)

- Land                                                                                                               (205,000)

Net Surplus /(Deficit) on Car Parks                                                                 (50,000)

%                                                                                                                      -3%

The first interesting point is that the Trust actually earned £1.75 million which would put it in third place in the  table of shame.

The second interesting point is that the hospital uses all the money on non health related matters - it's not as though our money pays for treatment.

Thirdly, last summer the Trust tried to introduce charges for the disabled who had previously parked for free. You may remember there was a storm of protest and in the end they backed down.

None of us could understand why they would risk such bad publicity for what would have been a small amount for the Trust but such a big item of expenditure for the disabled.

Only an accountant could recommend penalising those least able to pay; only an accountant would think it worthwhile to make that charge to remove a deficit of £50,000.

Of course, these accounts are full of nonsense accounting entries like notional interest and notional rent for the land the car parks are on.

The trust seems to be trying to run the car parks as though they were some kind of stand alone business when really they are a service for the patients and staff.

Or they should be.

In the real world these outrageous car park charges are just a tax on illness and infirmity.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)


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