Hospitals scrap free parking for cancer patients and people with disabilities

Scrooge hospital bosses are scrapping free car parking for cancer patients and the disabled.

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Trust, which runs Royal Preston and Chorley hospitals, made the move just days before Christmas.

It will affect people having dialysis and the parents and carers of some child patients.

The trust has also replaced ticket barriers with an automatic number plate recognition system run by private contractor Parking Eye, which made nearly £10million in profits last year.

Meanwhile Nottinghamshire University Hospitals Trust, which made £3.6million from parking charges last year, is abolishing free spaces for Blue Badge holders from the first week of January.

Both NHS trusts say their new parking system will be fairer for patients because they level out inequalities in charges.

But Labour and health unions have called on the Government to scrap what they call the “NHS stealth tax”.

Shadow health minister Jonathan Ashworth said: “Hospital car park charging is a tax on the sick and disabled and a Jeremy Corbyn Labour government will bin these unfair charges.”

Unison’s Christina McAnea said: “These scrooge tactics penalise staff and vulnerable patients. Hospital parking is in danger of becoming a licence to print money.”

Lancashire Teaching Hospitals said more patients will now qualify for a new flat rate £2.50 per day fee under a “more equitable approach” .

Nottingham University Hospitals Trust said: “Running our car parks is expensive and increasing year on year. All of the money we make goes back into funding maintenance, security and improvements.”

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