An investigation into the money made by those operating NHS car parks across England has found that some hospital trusts really rake it in through fees and fines, with top offenders taking in as much as £3m a year -- and much of it going to outsourced car parking companies.
The Press Association received responses from 90 NHS trusts in England about the matter, with the answers showing that just over half of these earned more than £1m a year from car parking fines and fees, with seven taking more than £3m for charging to visit a hospital.
Like many things to do with the NHS, it's a bit of a convoluted mess. Many NHS units outsource the operation of their car parks and some are run through PFI-backed trusts; both options take the responsibility for fees and fines out of the hands of the actual hospitals they're supposed to serve, often handing the money over to companies that lease the car parks from the trusts.
The PA quotes Katherine Murphy of the Patients Association, who's unsurprisingly outraged, and said: "It is a postcode lottery and a tax on sick people who sometimes struggle to pay. The money is never reinvested in frontline services. Hospital car parks are often managed by private contractors who take a huge percentage of the profits. This is morally wrong -- and charging disabled people is a disgrace." [Press Association]