New report highlights the financial strain on visitors visiting Harrogate Hospital after increase in car parking fees
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The 2024 Hospital Parking Report highlights the financial strain on individuals seeking healthcare services across England.
As part of a comprehensive analysis using NHS estates reports, local hospital data and third-party parking providers, personal finance website The Grade says it has uncovered details about parking charges at Harrogate And District NHS Foundation Trust.
Although Harrogate compares well with some other sizable Yorkshire hospitals which saw even larger increases, the new report shows revenue for The Trust from parking charges in 2023 rose by £103,684, a jump of 27%.
Additionally, Harrogate District Hospital is ranked number five in the most expensive hospitals in England for one hour stays.
The new data follows the introduction at the hospital last September of a new camera-controlled, barrierless parking system with new charges.
The changes mean people visiting the hospital can enjoy the first 20 minutes free before fees rise to £4 for up to two hours, £6.50 for up to four hours and £8.50 for up to six hours.
The effect has been to boost the Trust’s finances.
According to The 2024 Hospital Parking Report, Harrogate And District NHS Foundation Trust accrued £486,108 in income from parking charges for 2022-23, a rise of £103,684 from 2021-22 when income was £382,424.
A spokesperson for Harrogate And District NHS Foundation Trust told the Harrogate Advertiser the revenue from the new charges would go towards improving the car park itself.
“We aim to strike a balance between covering the cost of maintaining and improving our parking facilities, and ensuring that the cost for patients and visitors is as minimal as possible.
"But it is important that our car parks are well maintained and safe for patients, visitors and staff.
"All funds gathered from parking charges are invested back into the delivery of patient care and maintaining facilities, such as car parks across HDFT.
“Over the next five years we anticipate that we will need to invest significant sums in our car parks and security, and the revenue raised through car parking charges will help us to fund this work.”
Parking charges at hospitals have been criticised for being a “tax on caring”.
The 2019 Conservative Manifesto even promised to “end unfair hospital parking charges".
But a spokesperson for Harrogate And District NHS Foundation Trust said that it had purposely retained some concessions.
“When reviewing our car parking charges recently, which we believe are fair, reasonable and comparable to other NHS Trusts in the region, we chose to keep free parking or concessionary rates for certain patients and visitors including blue badge holders, patients receiving cancer treatment, parents visiting the paediatric ward or Special Care Baby Unit, those people attending regular recurring appointments and those in receipt of benefits.
“Parking is free for the first 20 minutes allowing for patients to be dropped off and collected without the driver needing to pay for parking.
"It also encourages drivers from waiting in the car park after dropping someone off, ensuring that other people who require our services can find a parking space."
The Trust also claims the new parking system has had a “significant” impact on reducing traffic congestion in the Lancaster Park Road area due to improved access.
More information at: https://www.thegrade.com/