THERE is only one section of society to blame for hospital parking charges which have been described as exorbitant after a further five per cent increase in the revenue generated by NHS trusts – motorists themselves.
The fact of the matter is that ‘pay parking’ is a necessary evil to stop a selfish minority of drivers from abandoning their vehicles in hospital car parks while they go to nearby shops or run other errands.
If motorists were more considerate of others, charges might be more reasonable, though, it should be pointed out, that most of the money generated is spent on the actual management of the car parks concerned.
That Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust made £78,595 in the past financial year does not suggest that hospitals are using motorists as a ‘cash cow’ to prop up their fragile finances – this money equates to the salaries afforded to three junior doctors.
What is more difficult to defend, however, is those instances where disabled drivers are being charged by NHS trusts – this seems to be at variance with the spirit of ‘blue badge’ schemes – and the genuine hardship caused to relatives visiting long-term hospital patients.
Once again, the challenge for hospitals is to provide assistance, where possible, to such people without creating reams of unnecessary paperwork which becomes counter-productive and deters needy families from making an application. The last thing that doctors and nurses on busy hospital wards need is more bureaucracy and the task of policing car park policies each day.