Hospitals received £96.7million in car parking fees from patients and visitors in 2021/2022, double the £48million charged the previous year. In addition, NHS staff paid £5.6million in fees.
Coventry and Warwickshire hospitals trust took £4.1million, followed by Derby and Burton hospitals trust, which raked in £2.5million and Mid and South Essex trust which made £2.4million.
The huge charges come despite a promise to crack down on unfair parking fees.
The Conservative general election manifesto for 2019 included a pledge to “end unfair hospital car parking charges by making parking free for those in greatest need, including disabled people, frequent outpatient attenders, parents of sick children staying overnight and staff working night shifts”.
Free parking in hospital car parks for NHS staff was temporarily introduced during the pandemic but ended on April 1 this year.
Lib Dems called the fees a “tax on the sick and a tax on caring”. They have urged the Government to take action to scrap the fees for patients and visitors during the cost-of-living emergency. They suggested this would be paid for by the Government instead of coming out of overstretched hospital budgets.
Lib Dem health and social care spokesperson Daisy Cooper said: “Rip-off hospital car parking fees are another blow to people facing higher energy costs and food prices. It is a tax on the sick and a tax on caring for those who want to visit their loved ones in hospital.”
“The Government must provide the extra funding needed to scrap car parking charges for patients and their relatives during this cost-of-living emergency.”
“Every penny and every pound will make a difference to struggling families,” she added.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “This data does not reflect our commitment to implement free hospital car parking for those who need it most – and comes from before we fully implemented our pledge.”
“Every NHS trust that charges for car parking now has free hospital car parking for NHS staff working overnight, blue badge holders, parents of sick children and frequent attenders,” they said.
“This is the first time NHS hospital car parking has been free nationally across England for these groups.”