From: Dr John WL Puntis, Leeds ‘Keep Our NHS Public’.
AS your articles on hospital car park charges point out (The Yorkshire Post, November 11), it is not just patients and visitors but also staff who are penalised financially.
For example with regard to fines, many of the persistent offenders are senior doctors moving to and fro between hospitals, who despite paying £60 a month for parking, can’t find a designated space when they arrive to do an outpatient clinic. Charges are also levied on those who only use their car for making out of hours and emergency visits to see patients.
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust needs to be open and honest about why it imposes car parking charges and fines – and it is not to deter shoppers.
From 1992 the Treasury required hospitals to pay back six per cent annual interest on the value of their capital assets. This ‘capital charge’ (effectively a tax on hospitals) was presented as a way of ensuring that assets were used more efficiently. This is an example of how privatisation, and the drive for hospitals to be more like businesses, has made them less sensitive to the needs of patients, visitors and staff. The reforms driven by NHS England are leading us further down this route, with longer waiting lists, rationing and withdrawal of some treatments.