Hospital defends �1m car park fees

IPSWICH Hospital has defended its car parking charges after new figures showed the fees raked in more than �1million.

Rebecca Lefort

IPSWICH Hospital has defended its car parking charges after new figures showed the fees raked in more than �1million.

In 2007/08 the hospital collected �1,171,730 from car park charges, up from �1,011,040 the year before.

The Liberal Democrat's shadow health secretary, Norman Lamb said: “This is a staggering amount of money for the NHS to be making from car parking charges.


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“Many hospitals are still not offering real discounts to those with chronic illnesses and are effectively operating a tax on the sick.

“We now need an urgent review into whether hardworking doctors and nurses and the chronically ill should be paying these charges at all.”

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However Jan Rowsell, Ipswich Hospital's spokeswoman, said the charges were necessary for the hospital to operate.

“Charging for car parking is a very emotive subject,” she said. “We fully understand that people will have a range of views.

“We have to charge for car parking because we have to make sure that the car parks are safe.

“We are an almost 50-acre site with around 8,000 people a day on site, so we are the size of a small town.

“When there was no charge for parking there were many instances when the site was unsafe and emergency vehicles couldn't access entrances.

“We try to set our charges so they are in line with other hospitals and the community and we do try to encourage as many people as possible to use different forms of transport.”

She added that the Heath Road hospital offered discounted rates for cancer patients and other people with long term conditions.

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