Hospital parking – news update

In December the government announced they will make ‘parking free for those in greatest need’ from April 2020 in England.  This includes four specific groups:

    • disabled people
    • frequent out-patient attenders
    • parents of sick children staying overnight, and
    • staff working night shifts

We welcome this announcement and BPA staff have attended, along with key players from our healthcare, operators and technology groups, the first wave of meetings of the Department of Health and Social Care's Hospital Car Parking Program Board. We are absolutely committed to working with government on behalf of all our members, to support the development of their proposals. Our aim is simple, to help them deliver a solution which works well for everyone.

We have emphasised in our discussions having a:

  • well-designed and easy to understand ‘free parking offer’
  • clearly understandable definitions of the four groups that will receive free parking
  • good local implementation plans being devised by NHS Trusts and their parking operators, to provide solutions that meet local needs
  • national public awareness campaign across England to provide information on who qualifies and what the ‘offer’ is. Effective communication at a local level which may be over and above the ‘standard free parking offer’ is equally important, and
  • learning from the experience of Trusts where some of these concessions already exist

The government has also said it will consider hospital car parking capacity across the country and how improved technology will reduce burdens for hospitals.

We do not believe that all hospital car parking should be free. Providing, managing, patrolling and maintaining safe parking for users at NHS Trusts costs money and we believe that limited NHS funds should be focused on providing healthcare and patient services.

If you are involved in the management of parking at hospitals in England and are about to introduce new methods of control or new charges, do consider how you manage parking for these four groups of people currently.

 This is the full wording from the Queen's speech...

“The Government will deliver its commitment to providing free hospital parking for those in greatest need. The Government will prioritise and carefully define those groups subject to a more detailed assessment of financial impact and those already identified in the NHS Car Parking Principles. This will include blue badge holders; frequent outpatient attendees; visitors with relatives who are gravely ill or have an extended stay in hospital, or carers of such where appropriate and; staff working shifts that mean public transport cannot be used.”

We will keep members updated and if you have any concerns or suggestions, please let us know at consultations@britishparking.co.uk. We will include them in our discussions with government.