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NHS figures show trust made £2m from carparking

The trust that manages Newark Hospital made more than £0.5m by charging staff for parking last year, it has been revealed.

Figures released by the NHS show the trust raked in £548,410 in the year to March from charges and penalty fines incurred by NHS workers parking across all its sites.

NHS trusts across England made a combined total of almost £70m from staff parking charges over the same period.

Newark Hospital Carpark from the Boundary Road side. (4990883)
Newark Hospital Carpark from the Boundary Road side. (4990883)

Sarah Carpenter, national officer for health at Unite, a union which represents around 100,000 health workers, said: "It is a scandal that NHS trusts in England have pocketed nearly £70m from staff carparking charges.

"Such a large figure will take a large chunk out of the gains in the current NHS pay package which saw most staff get a pay rise of 6.5% over the next three years.

"This pernicious trend is replicated by financially squeezed trusts across England ­— our members are being used as an extra income stream for these trusts.

"We would like a situation where dedicated NHS staff, who don't earn a fortune, don't have to pay to park their cars to go to work to look after the sick, the vulnerable and the injured 365 days a year."

The figures also reveal the trust made £1.4m from parking charges paid by patients and visitors to its sites in the same financial year.

This brought their total income from carparking to £2m.

Across England, almost £157m was raised from charges incurred by patients and visitors.

The figures represent the gross income earned by the NHS and do not take into account its own costs for providing carparking.

Patients' rights campaigners the Patients Association has criticised the existence of parking charges for patients, describing them as "a charge on people who are unwell, levied on them because they are unwell."

However, chief executive Rachel Power said they were a way for hospitals to generate revenue at a time when they are under "immense" financial pressure.

Decisions on how much to charge patients, staff and visitors to NHS sites are made by individual trusts.

Sherwood Forest Hospitals said it provided a high standard of carparking for staff, which is charged at £12.55 a month for full time staff, and less for staff on part-time hours.

It said: "These charges help us to maintain safe and well-lit parking spaces for our patients, staff and visitors."

The trust, which has a rating of good from the Care Quality Commission, provides acute healthcare services for 420,000 people across Mansfield, Ashfield, Newark, Sherwood and parts of Derbyshire and Lincolnshire.

It employs 4,500 people across three hospital sites - King’s Mill, Newark and Mansfield Community, and also runs some services from Ashfield Community Health Village.

Last year it saw 412,000 outpatient attendances, with 102,000 people attending the King’s Mill Emergency Department and more than 21,000 patients seen and treated at the Urgent Care Centre at Newark Hospital.

Hospital parking charges were abolished in Wales earlier this year after the last contract with a private firm expired - a decade after the Welsh Government announced parking would be free.

Parking charges have also largely been abolished in Scotland, but remain in Northern Ireland as well as England.

A spokesman for NHS Improvement said income generated was used to pay the costs of providing parking, while excess funds were put into clinical services.

“As we develop the long-term plan for the NHS, it is right that trusts continue to develop their commercial income opportunities," she said.

“This is so that they can maintain their services and ensure they can provide patients with high quality care, both now and in future.”

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