Big increase in parking fees for some patients

More than one in four NHS trusts increased car parking charges last year, new figures claim.

Trusts in England make millions every year from parking, which is free for most in the rest of the UK. The coalition scrapped Labour plans to abandon fees in England 18 months ago.

Figures from nearly 200 NHS trusts found some had increased charges by more than 100 per cent in 2010-11, among them the United Lincolnshire hospitals trust where a three-hour stay rose from an average 67p an hour to £1.42.

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The figures, analysed by Leeds-based data company SSentif, found 16 per cent of trusts reduced their average charge, 54 per cent made no change and 28 per cent increased fees.

Car parks in the South West were the most affordable, at an average of 52p per hour. Prices rose to 81p in Yorkshire and £1.02 in London and the South East.