The Institute of Parking Professionals is an independent body representing individuals engaged in the UK parking and traffic management sector.

Healthcare parking FAQs

The BPA has created a list of Healthcare Parking FAQs

To view the work of the Healthcare Special Interest group visit this page

To sign up to our Charter for Healthcare parking visit this page

Isn’t charging for hospital parking a tax on the sick?

Regardless of whether hospital parking is free or not, there is a significant cost in providing parking spaces and managing car parks and traffic. NHS Trusts rarely have either the staff or resources available to manage car parks themselves to the same standards they set for parking operators. Very few Trusts are able to provide the capital costs involved in building, improving or extending car parks, because of their need to focus on clinical spending.

Car parks cost money to run and to improve too: if parking charges were abolished then the shortfall in funds would have to come out of the healthcare budge

If parking were to be free those that use public transport to visit or work at hospitals may ask why their method of travel is not free. Encouraging use of public transport can only be positive although we recognise that public transport cannot always meet the needs of some hospital users.

Why isn’t all hospital parking free?

Put simply, hospital car parking charges are a visible cost shared between the people using the facility.  By not charging, the cost remains, but becomes invisible and absorbed into already tight hospital budgets

People cannot afford these charges, especially the elderly, unemployed or long-term sick

Trusts provide concessionary tariffs for long-term visitors and patients, e.g.

  1. Free parking for chemotherapy and renal patients
  2. Multi-visit tickets or discount tickets for 7 days, one month etc.

Those on lower incomes and in receipt of benefit can claim back their travel expenses to hospital.

I have spent £XX on 4 days parking at this hospital and I am worried sick – my husband is in for 4 weeks.

Please see 4 above. Most Trusts are able to help those who may have to visit a hospital over a longer period of time.

Why is parking outsourced to commercial companies; shouldn’t the Trusts be providing this service?

Not all Trusts have the in-house resource, expertise, accreditations or knowledge to be able to provide parking management.

Parking is not the only service that NHS Trusts outsource; there have been studies that show outsourcing to be the most economic method of providing some services.

Using a business who operate in a particular specialised area ensures higher standards and expertise. This, in turn, has benefits for hospital staff, patients and visitors alike.

NHS Trusts can choose to employ a member of the BPA’s Approved Operator Scheme, ensuring that they can be confident that the operator adheres to a Code of Practice (there is currently no legislation for off-street parking). The Code of Practice requires operators to maintain high standards and compliance with the Code which s monitored.

Why should I pay for parking when it took me 40 minutes to find a space and I was late for my clinic appointment?

Allow some extra time for your journey, just as you would if visiting a busy town centre looking for parking

If you found a space, you used the facility, so you would normally be expected to pay.

It is disgraceful that I have been given a penalty ticket when there is nowhere to park.

Parking anywhere other than a proper space will cause obstructions and could be dangerous. In extreme cases, although more likely in a hospital situation, this can be life-threatening if , for example, access for ambulances is blocked

Operators often act on instruction from the landlord (in this case the Trust) and may be penalised if they do not adhere to guidelines.

A motorist can appeal if they feel they have been unfairly ticketed. All hospitals and car parking operators have well-structured appeals processes allowing those who have received a ticket to state their case.

Hospital staff pay too much for their parking.

NHS staff often consider free or subsidised parking as a right, whereas it’s really a perk. In the private sector, it is most unusual to receive free or subsidised parking and Nottingham is about to bring in a tax on workplace parking for those that do.

We know of no NHS staff entitled to a permit who pay the same as public parkers – all Trust parking is subsidised, mostly by the public parking.

Free or cheaper staff parking would either raise the price of parking for patients and their visitors, or need subsidising by the Trust, thus taking funds from the healthcare budget.

The majority of the car park spaces are used for staff only and these cost as much to operate as any other parking facility.

Many staff get guaranteed spaces as part of their permit.

Why should we pay in England when the Welsh and Scottish have made it illegal?

There is no such thing as free parking. NHS Trusts in Scotland and Wales will have to fund the parking facilities from other budgets.

The number of hospitals charging for parking in Scotland and Wales were relatively few when compared to England.  With many hospitals in England currently charging for parking, the impact of removing these charges would be huge – both on hospital budgets and on congestion.

The BPA believes that the key to this problem is through good parking management without which:

  1. Adequate resources to maintain the service and facilities will not be available – budgets are already tight. As a result, the standard of the service and facilities will drop.
  2. Many hospital car parks are currently in good condition due to the reinvestment of car parking revenue.  Without charging for parking, it is unlikely that this investment could be maintained and the quality of the car parks would deteriorate as a result.  The likely outcome would be that within 5 to 10 years, hospitals would be faced with significant refurbishment costs to maintain a safe and secure facility.
  3. The majority of parking spaces, especially those closest to the hospital, will taken up by all-day parkers.
  4. Without charging, it is very difficult to control parking abuse by commuters, town centre shoppers/workers and others who have no business at a hospital.
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