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Hospital parking charges attack

PUBLISHED: 08:56 20 February 2009 | UPDATED: 13:05 03 July 2010

PEOPLE travelling across Norfolk to visit sick friends in hospital are being penalised by parking charges, it has been claimed.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has a daytime rate based on how long you stay, and a cheaper fixed rate of £2 in the evenings and at weekends.

PEOPLE travelling across Norfolk to visit sick friends in hospital are being penalised by parking charges, it has been claimed.

The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital has a daytime rate based on how long you stay, and a cheaper fixed rate of £2 in the evenings and at weekends.

But people arriving in the afternoon and parking before 5.30pm pay the daytime rate for their entire stay, even if most of it falls in the evening. The hospital says it is trying to encourage people to visit after 5.30pm when the car park is quieter.

Christine Good, 39, has been visiting a friend every day as he recovers from an emergency operation at the N&N. When she arrives at 3pm and stays until 8pm she expects to pay £4 in total - the daytime rate of £2 for up to three hours, plus the £2 evening rate.

But instead she has been charged the daytime rate of £6 for five hours or more.

She visits for such long periods so she can go to the afternoon visiting session and the evening visiting session, and because she lives in East Barsham, near Fakenham, it is not worth driving home between the two.

Instead she passes the time in the hospital café. But if she drives out of the car park between the two sessions and drives straight back in again, she can save £2.

Mrs Good, who runs a guest house, said: “It is penalising people who live a long way away from Norwich and cannot go home between visiting times. I will be visiting every day for two weeks, so it is going to cost me a lot of money.

“Yesterday I drove out of the car park at 5.30pm, drove around the roundabout and went back in again - and doing that saved me £2. But that is a lot of messing about. It is ridiculous.

“Everyone at the hospital has been fantastic but the car parking has just annoyed me.”

N&N spokesman Andrew Stronach said: “If someone has got specific concerns about any of our services we would encourage them to complain so that we can look at their concerns. It has to be said this is the first time in eight years that this particular issue has been raised.

“We have set up the car parking tariff to encourage people to come here in the evening, particularly because in the daytime the car park is phenomenally busy. We have made it a lot cheaper to park in the evenings and at weekends.

“If you are going to be visiting regularly we would ask people to seriously consider using the park and ride.”

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn and James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston charge the same amount for parking, whatever the time of day. Norwich City Council car parks have a £1.60 evening rate, and people who arrive before 6.30pm are charged the daytime rate until 6.30pm and then £1.60 on top of that.

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