Hospital Parking Report 2024: Doncaster hospitals trust saw its car park revenue increase by £583,700, a rise of 156%

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Hospital parking charges in England have long been a source of contention, often described as a ‘tax on the sick’ and a burden on those caring for them.

While Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have scrapped them completely, in England, the issue remains a significant concern.

The 2019 Tory manifesto promised to end these “unfair hospital parking charges,” yet five years later, the situation seems to have worsened.

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The latest NHS estates data reveals a 50 per cent increase in parking revenue, totalling £145.9 million in 2023, up from £97.9 million the previous year.

Doncaster Royal Infirmary car park.Doncaster Royal Infirmary car park.
Doncaster Royal Infirmary car park.

The Grade’s (www.thegrade.com) comprehensive analysis in the Hospital Parking Report 2024 delves into this issue, offering a regional breakdown by Trust and Hospital site to illustrate the extent of charges levied on the sick and carers.

The analysis (using NHS estates reports, local hospital data and third-party parking providers) uncovered startling details about the parking charges at Doncaster And Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

In 2023, revenue from parking increased by £583,700, a rise of 156 per cent significantly impacting the local community.

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A spokesman from The Grade said: “"The dramatic 156% increase in parking charges at Doncaster's NHS Trust is alarming, revealing a growing financial strain for those accessing healthcare in Doncaster. The staggering rise in parking revenue at Doncaster And Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is more than just a statistic; it's a significant burden on the local community. This money is being raised on the back of the sick and those caring for them.

"What adds to the unfairness is that many parts of the UK have banned these types of charges. It seems grossly unfair that the residents of Doncaster have to pay for hospital parking while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland offer this for free."

These figures need also to take into account the happenings of the hospital and the world around it at the time to give key context.

For the first four months of 2021/22, car parking charges were not applied at the Trust (as all parking charges were rescinded during the acute stages of the pandemic), and only reinstated in late July of that year.

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Coupled with an increase in overall activity in 2022/23 (about 20,000 extra patients seen as services returned to business as usual following a focus on urgent and emergency and cancer patients during the pandemic), as well as a full 12-months of parking charges, it is highly misleading to present a 156 per cent increase in revenues.

Dr Kirsty Edmondson Jones, Director of Innovation and Infrastructure at Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals, said: “All revenue raised by car parking is directly reinvested in hospital services, helping us to pay for the upkeep of our facilities, ensure, where we can, priority access for those who need it most, and prevent unauthorised usage.

“To mitigate the impact of parking charges on patients and their families, as well as ensure this does not have a disproportionate impact on patients, the Trust offers several initiatives.

“Free parking is provided from 6pm to 9am daily, and charges do not apply on bank holidays. We also extend free parking to blue badge holders, frequent attenders, and parents of sick children, acknowledging the unique challenges these individuals face.

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“In addition, in an effort to enhance accessibility, the Trust provides a complementary park and ride shuttle service – at a cost of around three quarters of a million pound every year. From 6am to 10pm, shuttles operate every 20 minutes between the facility and Doncaster Royal Infirmary, along with an hourly service connecting our Doncaster site to Montagu Hospital, and Bassetlaw Hospital. These are all free to access for patients, staff and visitors.

“All charges at the Trust are benchmarked against neighbouring hospitals, and we value the feedback from our community and are committed to finding a balance that ensures both financial sustainability and accessibility for those in need."

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