Is paying for hospital parking unfair or a legitimate cost?
PUBLISHED: 08:39 30 December 2017 | UPDATED: 08:39 30 December 2017
An NHS free at the point of use is one of the great founding principles for our health service.
However it seems many patients in Norfolk and Waveney have to pay before they even walk through the door.
The James Paget University Hospital (JPUH) in Gorleston and Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) in King’s Lynn make huge amounts from its pay and display car parks on site.
The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH) has not released its figures but also charges for parking.
Unsurprisingly, patients and their relatives see that as an unfair ‘tax’ that they shouldn’t have to pay.
Just because they, a friend or family relative are ill, they have to pay a cost that people who don’t need to go to hospital avoid.
Yes, there is public transport – but that isn’t an option to many people if they are really unwell or live in rural areas.
In some cases it can cut down on congested car parks and stop those who could use public transport from taking the car instead.
But that often just relocates the problem – just ask anyone living on King’s Lynn’s Fairstead estate.
However many see a different side of the argument. Most of all, they see the huge amounts of money it brings in – £1m for the JPUH and £1.3m for the QEH.
And when the NHS is coming under cost pressures like everyone else, it is hard to see any hospital giving up such a large source of revenue.