PARKING charges at Coventry’s University Hospital have risen today.
It is despite years of complaints from patients, and renewed political debate following a Labour election manifesto pledge earlier this month to abolish hospital car parking fees altogether.
The hospital in Walsgrave announced today it had “taken the difficult decision as tougher financial pressures mean it is no longer possible for it to use its own budgets to subsidise visitor car parking.”
Campaigners say the NHS faces real terms budget cuts while the government insists it is providing record levels of funding.
Waiting times have increased nationally.
The hospital emphasised in a statement topday that its car parks are not operated by its University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire Trust, but by a private company as part of the Pirvate Finance Initiative (PFI) contract under which the hospital was built.
The PFI contract has left taxpayers with high mortgage payments on the hospital.
Lincoln Dawkin, Director of Estates at UHCW, said: “We appreciate that the price of car parking is an emotional issue for a lot of our patients and visitors and this decision has not been taken lightly.
“Unfortunately we are now in a position where if we did not increase the prices we would have to take money from budgets meant for patient care.
“Obviously we cannot allow that. However we will continue to support patients where we can by providing free parking for patients who visit the hospital regularly such as people having intravenous chemotherapy and kidney dialysis.”
The price rises are
£2.50 rises to £2.70
£3.40 rises to £3.70
£4.10 rises to £4.30
£4.90 rises to £5.20
£6.40 rises to £6.70
£7.90 rises to £8.30
7 hours and over
£9.20 rises to £9.60
Free parking will remain for the following groups:
· Oncology (cancer) patients attending for outpatient intravenous chemotherapy / radiotherapy treatment
· Renal dialysis patients
· Parents of sick children (who stay in hospital overnight to accompany their sick children)
· Those collecting paperwork related to a bereavement
The Trust added: “University Hospital continues to encourage its community to use public transport having recently upgraded its bus station from five to nine stops with 13 bus services coming onto the site.”