Hospitals across the UK have continued to rip off visitors despite a Government crackdown
Despite a Government crackdown prompted by a Daily Express crusade, operators are using out-of-date parking meters which cause visitors to pay more than they need.
The RAC found that, of those charging, four in 10 trusts in England offer no option to pay by credit or debit card.
As a result, customers have to carry loose change and to guess how long they will be staying – nearly always paying too much to avoid the risk of incurring a penalty charge.
Many trusts are believed to be raking in up to £3million a year from car park charges.
The findings were slammed by the RAC. Spokesman Simon Williams said: “In the 21st century, it is unreasonable to expect drivers to have to estimate how long their visit to hospital might take.
“Payment on exit, while perhaps not appropriate for smaller hospital car parks, should be rolled out as far as it is practicable.”
Operators are using out-of-date parking meters which cause visitors to pay more than they need
Campaign group The Patients Association has branded the overcharging of patients and hospital visitors as “morally wrong”.
Cancer patients should not have to pay for hospital car parking in the first place
Trustee Dr Mike Smith welcomed the report.
He said: “Our helpline has received calls regarding this unacceptable overcharge, which we regard as simply a tax on ill health.”
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Macmillan Cancer Support also warned that cancer patients in particular regularly need to attend hospital so unaffordable charges leave many out of pocket.
The RAC found that, of those charging, four in 10 trusts in England offer no option to pay by card
Spokeswoman Rosie Downes said: “Cancer patients should not have to pay for hospital car parking in the first place.
“Cancer has a huge financial impact and the cost of parking really adds up.
“We would urge all hospital trusts in England to follow the clear guidance from the Department of Health to make hospital car parking free or reduce charges for cancer patients.”
The Daily Express successfully led a crusade to stop extortionate charges at hospital car parks.
Many trusts were believed to get up to £3million every year from car park charges Shocking charts show the NHS could be in crisis Thu, February 9, 2017
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The findings came to light following a Freedom of Information request from the RAC.
Some 164 out of the 206 hospital trusts in England responded, with 125 having chargeable car parks.
Last night, the Government condemned the actions of the individual trusts and told them to take action.
Health Minister Lord O’Shaughnessy said: “NHS organisations are locally responsible for the methods used to charge and we want to see them coming up with flexible options that put patients and their families first.”
The RAC said it was now calling on hospitals in England to publish plans that set out when out-dated parking meters will be upgraded.