NHS PARKING – A Sly Taxation On Those In Need
The NHS is supposed to be free at the point of use, however private companies employed by Hospital Trusts across England are collecting an estimated £121 Million every year in parking charges, with an additional undisclosed sum in fines.
It’s morally reprehensible that we are charged exorbitant fees in the first place but recognising that private companies are raking in enormous profits on public land adds to the exasperation felt by the victims of yet another sly form of taxation.
A huge proportion of this underhand financial extraction doesn’t even go towards training more nurses or providing better facilities it merely lines the pockets of racketeers who put profit firmly before people.
Patients and visitors are paying as much as £4 for just one hour’s parking in England, whilst Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have abolished charges in most places.
As UKIP MEP Louise Bours rightly said: “Hospital parking charges hit people when they are typically at their most stressed and anxious.
“They hit patients themselves when they go to outpatient appointments. They also hit people who are visiting family members, neighbours and friends in hospital.
“It is not just a matter of the financial cost to people – though that can build up for the most dutiful and frequent visitors. It is also a matter of having to make sure you have the right change and the worry that something will cause your visit to over-run and you could get a ticket or even have your car towed away.
“Going to hospital as a patient or visitor is a stressful enough thing at the best of times. But when car parks are run as revenue maximising assets rather than as a facility for people it adds significantly to the stress.”
In 2014 Jeremy Hunt attempted to win favour from patient groups by asking trusts to cut charges, however his empty rhetoric was never enforced and parking charges have increased by an average of 71p per hour.
This financial burden is not reserved solely for patients and visitors with University Hospital Southampton charging their own staff £1.2 million a year as just one example.
Trusts feebly attempt to justify these charges by claiming it brings in much needed funds, however if they looked at where and how said funds were spent robbing those in need would not even be talked about, let alone implemented.
• Procuring items on a national basis increases buying power enabling trusts to negotiate costs down
• Auditing the management structure will remove wasteful layers of bureaucracy
• Capping Trust Managers pay so they cannot earn more than the Prime Minister will free up £Millions
• Involving Healthcare Professionals in the decision-making process means money is spent where it is needed
• Ensuring that anyone from abroad has healthcare insurance will remove a major financial burden
In conclusion the whole service needs a massive injection of common sense and should stop wasting £Billions expecting the public to make up the shortfall.
Profiteering by either the NHS or their privatised subsidiaries is not welcome in any part of the UK and must be removed forthwith.