Hospital Car Parks

It seems that the Assembly government in Wales is to make hospital car parking free by 2011; though if one looks at the small print some hospital car parks seem to be run by private sector companies on long leases and as such presumably will continue to charge. Elsewhere in the UK Scotland seems set to cap charges at £3 per day. England seems disinclined to follow suit.

I am unsure but I think the here in Northern Ireland the Royal car parking is run by a private company. The Belfast City and Ulster Hospital Dundonald both charge for parking (I think they are in house but I am happy to be corrected). I think the others do not charge. Clearly charging for car parking does raise money which could be spent on hospital services. However, the British Medical Association and Patients Association both oppose it. So will our Health Minister make a similar decision to the Welsh? I suspect it would be popular.

  • Mater charges £1 unlimited; though broken since last weekend so currently free!!

  • Alan

    This is all very well where Hospitals are situated in easily acessible areas with large amounts of land available for parking ( Antrim). However, making hospital parking free will only result in some hospitals ( such as the City)ending up with no parking because commuters will simply fill up the free spaces.

    Also, is it better to spend Health funds on visitor parking or patient care – I know what I would prefer.

    Ultimately this kind of pointless issue floating begs the question – is government about populism or pragmatic policy? Are we already turning our eyes to the next Assembly election?

  • Twinbrook

    try finding a place outside the Royal!

  • dewi

    My Dad is in hospital – pretty hard to get to by public transport – indeed it’s about the only driving I do. Pleased that WAG are abolishing charges as its patients and visitors with long term health issues that have problems.
    Share the concerns about commuters – an imaginative solution to that issue needs to be sought (Some kind of permit system?)

  • joeCanuck

    Alan makes an excellent point. One size does not fit all.
    Provision does need to be made for those that have to visit frequently. Some sort of token system might work.

  • Lorraine

    the privatisation of hospital services (car park, telephone, television) with exorbitant charges is a disgrace. i think alan has hit the nail on the head: the opening salvo for the next election, after which things will continue as before……..

  • IIRC the Royal’s car park was built by the company that now runs it. They get to charge for parking for 20 years because it didn’t cost the hospital anything to build.

  • Jamie Gargoyle

    As Alan mentioned above, when the City had free parking, it was an unofficial park and ride scheme.

    It seems (IMHO) that people resent paying to park at a hospital when visiting a relative or attending an appointment etc., but would also resent non-visitors parking at a hospital if parking was free. The problem is separating the wheat from the chaff as it were, and short of breaching patient confidentiality (“Who are you here to visit?” asks the NCP man) or implementing a “get your parking validated or pay a ludicrous fee” scheme (more non-relevant paperwork for already stretched NHS staff) there doesn’t seem to be a way of telling the one from the other.

    I fully expect to hear tales of hospitals in Wales and Scotland near busy city areas having to find some way of discouraging non-visitors from using their car parks, or having to expand them to cope with demand.

  • And by the way this kind of ill-thought out populist shite highlights (once more), to me, the value of devolution at all.

  • brendan,belfast

    The Royal price is fair – i think its £1 for up to 3 hours. The City is £1 up to two hours but gets dear thereafter. Visiting and staying with a relative all day can cost up to a tenner.

    There should be some half way house.

  • Hogan

    While i’ll agree that Hospital parking is an emotive issue a bugbear of mine is airport parking. The city airport have it right, first 15mins are free when picking someone up, time your journey well and you never have to pay.

    Our country cousins at aldergrove on the other hand slap the charge on from the start, no gratius time.

  • Dewi

    Creating some trouble within Labour – Good blog from Betsan.

  • lámh dearg

    There are too many cars in the UK demanding too much space, why should the NHS be single out to deal with this.

    More taxation on cars, petrol, road use and parking and subsidize better public transport.