Hospital parking charges up 25 per cent

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HOSPITAL parking charges across Wearside were revealed in a report today.

Drivers faced shelling out an average of £1.50 for up to two hours in 2010/11 in car parks operated by City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust – Sunderland Royal and the Eye Infirmary.

This compared to an average of 75p per hour for those run by the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust, which provides mental health services at Cherry Knowle.

Prices have risen faster than inflation, with the City Hospitals average up from £1.20 in 2009/10 – a rise of 25 per cent – while the Northumberland Tyne and Wear charges trebled from an average of 25p.

A spokesman for the Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust said the increase was a reflection of the fact that some free car parks were now having to charge.

“The figures are somewhat misleading in that we have not raised car parking charges across any of our sites for patients, their visitors or staff since 2007,” he said.

“Previously, we have been able to keep parking free across several of our sites but, in order to maintain car parking facilities and appropriate levels of security, in recent years we have introduced a standard charge across all our sites.”

Patients Association chief executive Katherine Murphy said: “The extraordinary rise in the price of car parking is alarming. While Wales and Scotland have scrapped charges altogether, some hospitals have continued to raise their fees.”