Tuesday, 21 March 2017

The Truth about Ashford and St. Peter's Car Parking Charges.

Ashford and St. Peter's NHS Foundation Trust don't like to give out information about the revenue they receive from Parking Charges - it isn't separately itemised in their accounts.

I don't normally quote Murdoch's 'Sun' newspaper as it's got a history of attacking people and their rights.

However, in 2015 they did a large scale survey of NHS Hospital Parking Charges and the results are worth reading.

Not least because at an outrageous  £1,438,490 Ashford and St. Peter's were raking in the fifth largest amount of money from parking in the whole country.

And now they want to charge the disabled as well!


The Sun
Taking the P
RIP-OFF BRITAIN: How hospitals milk us for cash

16th October 2015, 11:01 pm
Updated: 6th April 2016, 1:12 am  

NHS hospitals raked in almost £39MILLION in car parking fees over the past year, a Sun investigation can reveal.

Some pocketed almost £2million charging patients and visitors to park, with total parking revenue up £1million, new figures show.
That is despite Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt’s vow last year to crack down on rip-off NHS trusts.

The Sun obtained data from 100 hospitals in England through a Freedom of Information request, following our story yesterday highlighting the charges.

It revealed the scale of the controversial parking charges, which made those hospitals a total of £38,860,532 in 2014/15 — up from £37,707,587 in 2013/2014.

John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford pulled in £1,880,961, making it the highest-grossing of those we contacted.

The hospital, part of Oxford University Hospitals Trust, charges £7 for stays of more than four hours.

London’s Northwick Park came a close second, earning £1,847,851 in parking revenue.

It charges £2.50 for up to one hour and £28.50 for a seven-day pass.

The sky-high rates were criticised last night, with Caroline Davey, of baby charity Bliss, warning they were an extra stress for new mums whose babies needed treatment. She said: “They should not have the added worry of expensive car parking charges and whether they can even afford to visit their baby.

“We want to see hospitals make car parking free for all families with a baby in neonatal care.”

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Hospital parking is often scarce, so some charges can help ensure it isn’t abused.
“But many taxpayers will feel let down at the scale of these charges at a time when many of them are simply visiting sick relatives.”

Labour MP Frank Field described The Sun’s findings as “an extraordinarily vicious tax on sickness and death and dying”. He called on Mr Hunt to “seek powers to instruct trusts that they should not be charging”.

He added: “What is so disappointing is that Mr Hunt asked hospitals not to raise prices and they have just put two fingers up to him.

“He has given them a chance, they can’t be trusted.

“There is a limit to which any sort of mockery the State should be prepared to take.”

Conservative MP Stephen Metcalfe expressed shock at the million-pound leap in parking revenue and admitted the trend was “very worrying”.

He said: “It is not right. Budgets are tight but increasing the amount made from charges is not the answer.

“It is an incredible amount of money and often hits the hardest those on the lowest incomes.

“Hospitals need to rethink how they are charging people.”

Who’s raking it in?

What hospitals and trusts make per year in parking fees

1. John Radcliffe, Oxford £1,880,961
2. Northwick Park, London £1,847,851 
3. New Cross, Wolverhampton £1,546,380
4. Heartlands Hospital, Birmingham £1,490,035
5. St. Peter’s, Ashford, Surrey £1,438,490
6. Good Hope Hospital, West Mids £1,101,690
7. Royal United Hospital, Bath £1,063,885
8. Leighton Hospital, Crewe £1,018,071 
9. Barnsley Hospital £905,256
10. Queen’s, Burton-on-Trent, Staffs £876,000

‘Time to own up’

JEREMY HUNT was yesterday urged to come clean over rip-off hospital parking after The Sun revealed charges were getting worse.

The Health Secretary’s promise to force NHS trusts to cut fees should be “taken with a large pinch of salt”, Shadow Health Minister Justin Madders said.

Figures showed this week that 63 per cent of trusts which charge for parking – 112 in total – defied Government guidelines and upped charges.

The fees make the NHS around £200million a year.

Mr Madders added: “It’s clear he has no plans to scrap these charges and he should just admit it. Patients are paying for the Government’s financial mismanagement.”

The attack came as the Scottish Government said families had saved £25million there since parking charges at most hospitals ended in 2009.

A spokesman called them “an unnecessary financial burden at a difficult time”.
The Department of Health insisted trusts set the costs.

But they are at it again - the charges at Ashford and St. Peter's went up in 2016 and, if they get their way they will go up this year as well.

Worse, following a Freedom of information request in 2016 I can reveal that if you include what they charge their staff for parking as well, in 2016 they pulled in an outrageous £2,071,942.

And that doesn't include the parking fines which go directly into the pocket of the private contractor who runs the parking for them. 

FOI Request 4965 - Patient Parking Income

Case Number4965
Request Date01/09/2016
Completion Date22/09/2016 

1. Please state what the income was to the Trust from parking income in patient car parks in
(i) the (14/15) financial year:
£1,850,735 combined patient and staff parking
(ii) the (15/16) financial year:
£2,071,942 combined patient and staff parking

I'm certainly saying that this 'Trust' is making quite enough money from it's able bodied visitors to not start charging the disabled as well. But isn't it obvious that the charges are too high for everyone?

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
Home: helpmesortoutstpeters.blogspot.com
Contact me: neilwithpromisestokeep@gmail.com

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