NHS trust behind Brighton hospital makes millions from parking charges Brighton News

University Hospitals Sussex NHS Foundation Trust raked in over £3.5 million from parking charges from April 2022 to March 2023.

The trust is in the top ten highest earners in the country as the Liberal Democrats call the charges a “tax on caring”.

According to the latest figures released by NHS England, University Hospitals Sussex made £2.6 million of income from car parking charges related to patients and visitors to their sites.

The trust also made just over £1 million in parking charges from staff across the 12-month period.

In total, University Hospitals Sussex made over £2 million more in parking charges than any other trust in the county.

The trust ranked sixth in the country for patient parking income and ninth for car parking charges for staff.

University Hospitals Sussex runs seven hospitals including the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Worthing Hospitals and the Princess Royal Hospital in Haywards Heath.

East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which made around £700,000 from parking charges in the same period, run hospitals in Eastbourne, Bexhill and St Leonards.

Recent figures come as car parking fees soared by 50 per cent nationally between 2021/22 and 2022/23.

Lib Dem health and social care spokeswoman Daisy Cooper said: “Hospital car parking fees are becoming a tax on caring for visitors and our hard-working NHS staff.

“This Conservative government is utterly failing to deliver on their promise to crack down on unfair hospital parking fees, and people are literally paying the price.”

The Tories’ 2019 election manifesto vowed to “end unfair hospital car parking charges” by making parking free for those in greatest need.

Current NHS guidance, updated in March 22, says that disabled people, frequent outpatient attenders, parents of sick children staying overnight and staff working night shifts should park for free.

Trusts, on a voluntary basis, should also ensure fees are “reasonable for the area” – but can decide how much they charge.

A University Hospitals Sussex spokesman said: “We are one of the largest trusts in the country, operating over five main sites and car parks – this means we have a high number of patients, visitors and staff using the parking facilities and the income from parking fees reflects this. All of our visitor car parking charges are in line with local council car parking rates, this is what we are recommended to do. 

“We try and keep the costs of hospital car parking as low as possible, and there are significant concessions for patients who are in hospital for a long period, and their visitors. 

“People visiting someone nearing the end of their life, for example, can talk to ward staff to help them get a free parking permit, and people having regular dialysis or cancer treatment also have free parking. Staff are offered pro-rata permit rates based on their income.”

A Tory spokesman said: “The Conservatives have fulfilled their manifesto pledge to end unfair charges for those in greatest need.

“The Lib Dems should come clean as to which services they would cut to subsidise parking further.”

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This notice was published: 2024-01-08 05:00:00

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