Car parking charges at hospital increase
The cost of a weekly parking ticket at West Suffolk Hospital will jump by £10 and carers will lose their entitlement to free parking from May 1, it has been confirmed.
The changes follow a three per cent increase to hourly parking charges at the hospital, introduced last week.
The cost of a weekly parking ticket will soar from £15 to £25, while carers will soon have to pay £3 per day to park on site, something which was previously free.
West Suffolk Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said it had not taken the decision to increase charges lightly, but that it relied on income from car parking to fund care.
The moves could generate an extra £112,700 a year for the hospital, with £42,264 coming from the three per cent hourly parking increase, £41,500 from the weekly ticket rise and £28,980 from the new carer charge.
However, the increases are below what was originally proposed, following a community engagement programme with more than 500 people.
Their feedback saw the proposed weekly ticket charge of £30 being reduced to £25, while 43.75 per cent of the carers who responded to the car parking survey said a daily charge of £2-£3 would be most fair and reasonable. As a result, the proposed £5 charge was scrapped and the daily fee set at £3.
Craig Black, director of resources at the trust, said: “We know that many people, rightly, feel very strongly about hospital car parking.
“No hospital takes the decision to charge for car parking lightly, but it is well-known that the NHS is facing some significant financial challenges.
“This unfortunately means that we have to sometimes make difficult decisions to ensure we can keep providing high-quality care.
“All the money that the trust makes from car parking is reinvested into our services and providing care to patients. Across a year, this car parking income is roughly equivalent to a full ward’s worth of nurses.”
Current car park charges:
n Front car park: Up to 20 minutes free
n Rear car parks: Up to 30 minutes free
n Up to one hour £2.10
n Up to two hours £4.10
n Up to three hours £6.20
n Up to four hours £8.20
n Up to five hours £10.30
n Six hours and over £12.40
n Weekly ticket £15
n Lost chip coin £12.40
n Macmillan day unit £5.10
n Carers Free
n Weekly ticket£15
Changes from May 1
n Weekly ticket £25
n Carers £3 daily