Friday, 27 June 2014

Stop The Hospital Car Parking Rip-Off

Rob Halfon MP, the great campaigning backbencher, has started a new campaign to 'stop the hospital car parking rip-off'. I would ask you to back his campaign to really stick to the NHS principle of 'free at the point of use'.

The one thing I have never properly understood about our healthcare system is the principle of 'free at the point of use'. In my opinion this is a very good principle but in so many cases it isn't actually applied. One of these is hospital parking. Why are we charging ill people or their families to park at hospitals? The government does allow for hospital car parking in England to be free, as it is in Scotland and Wales, so why is it very rare?

Free at the point of use?

The answer to this question from the bods incharge of hospitals/ the government often is that paying for parking covers the cost of having the spaces. But I have never really understood this argument because the NHS is so wasteful it is almost unbelievable. Surely there is enough money in £137 billion institution to pay for hospital parking, which let's face it would be a tiny amount.

It's great to see Rob, pictured here in his famous mustard suit, campaigning on such an important issue to those who are ill and their families.

So how can we pay for parking out of the NHS budget? Rob points out the case on the over use of branded drugs rather than generic drugs in the NHS in his proposals to do something about hospital car parking. But there is of course the obvious answer as well of too much bureaucracy in the NHS. My personal belief is that of the public's, the number of civil servants in the NHS should be as low as possible whilst the amount spent of treatments/ on more doctors and nurses should be increased. The Coalicious government has gone some way to solve this problem but there is still more to do.

£4 to park for the first hour!!!

But if we have to keep hospital car parking we should at least reduce the rates because it is so expensive. My local Nottingham hospital QMC is one of the worst, charging £4 for the first hour of parking. This is an unbelievable cost considering that families need to visit very ill patients or ill patients themselves need to park. Rob Halfon's investigation into hospital car parking has found stories of cancer patients having to cut down on what they eat just to pay for the travelling and parking expense of getting to hospital. It is is obviously unacceptable to force patients onto the breadline by paying for car parking.

I thus urge you to sign Rob's petition to stop the hospital parking rip-off. Why should we force patients or their families to pay so much just to park for a health service which is 'free at the point of use'?

You can view Rob's full proposals here.

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