Ipswich: Hospital parking charges rake in �1.28m

IPSWICH Hospital has been urged to review the impact of its parking charges after it emerged it had made almost �1.3million in just one year.

The figures, revealed after a Freedom of Information request, show the amount collected has gone up �400,000 compared to just four years ago.

Concerns were voiced last night over the financial impact on patients and visitors.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dan Poulter believes there should be a review into how people are affected by the charges.

Among those particularly badly hit would be people with cancer, many of whom would have had to give up work and would struggle to meet the parking charges, he said.

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“There should be a review to see how these people are affected because it is those sorts of people who are particularly hit by car parking charges.”

He added: “We are dealing with people who are losing sick relatives - that is the human side of it. There does need to be something done about it.”

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Currently, people have to pay �2.60 to park for up to two hours, �3.90 for up to three, �5.20 for up to four and �7.80 for up to six. Staying over six hours costs �11.

There are a limited number of parking spaces for 30 minute visits which cost 70p, and there are lower rates available for people having to use the car park regularly or long stay visitors.

In total, in the 2009-10 financial year, the car park at the Heath Road site made �1.28million.

Pru Rush, a local health campaigner, was shocked by the amount of money the hospital had made.

She said: “In an ideal world we should not be paying to visit loved ones in hospital, but if they are going to charge us we need to know that the money is being put back into something practical.”

She added: “If they are going to charge us we need to know that the money is being put back into something practical. It would be good if they could publicise what they are using it for.”

The hospital says all the money made goes back into the running of the car park.

Hospital spokeswoman Jan Rowsell said when the car park was free, cars used to block emergency vehicles from bringing in seriously ill patients.

She said: “We have to police the car park, we have to keep the car parks safe and maintain them. We have to make sure we keep them as clear as possible. We do everything we can to encourage people to do car shares.”

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