Government announces free hospital parking for thousands of patients, staff and carers
Disabled people, frequent outpatient attenders, parents of sick children staying overnight and staff working night shifts will have access to free NHS car parking from April 2020, according to a new announcement from the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC).
The UK Government also pledges to explore car parking capacity across the country, and how improved technology can reduce burdens for hospitals and take away stress for visitors.
To make free hospital car parking a reality, the DHSC will work alongside the NHS during the next few months to look at practical parking options that can make the most difference quickly. Examples include automatic number plate recognition technology and ticket or token systems where eligible people can redeem free parking or be refunded.
Currently, NHS Trusts are responsible for making their own car parking arrangements, including setting any charges.
With the new Government announcement, from April, the 206 Trusts in England will be expected to provide free car parking to groups that may be frequent hospital visitors, or those disproportionately impacted by daily or hourly charges for parking, including blue badge holders and frequent outpatients who have to attend regular appointments to manage long-term conditions.
The free parking will also extend to parents of sick children staying in hospital overnight and staff working night shifts.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “This month millions of people put their trust in this government to deliver. One of the concerns mentioned regularly on the doorsteps was that vulnerable people, and staff working nights, have to pay for hospital car parking. So we are today delivering on our manifesto commitment and setting out our new approach to NHS hospital parking charges.
“Currently, the situation varies from hospital to hospital. Instead, from April, across the country those with the greatest need – such as disabled people, parents staying overnight with sick children in hospital, and NHS staff working nightshifts – will no longer have to pay for parking.
“This is yet another example of how this government is delivering on our promises and focusing on the people’s priorities.”