THE Government is being called on to scrap hospital car parking fees.
Solihull Liberal Democrats have joined the call after figures reveal patients and visitors to University Hospital Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust sites, which include Solihull and Heartlands Hospital, paid £1,372,954 in the year 2021 and 2022.
The local political group call the fees a ‘tax on the sick’ and urged the Government to take action to scrap car parking fees for patients and visitors during the cost of living emergency.
Solihull Liberal Democrat council group leader Councillor Laura McCarthy said: “As our hospitals are pushed to breaking point it is local people who are paying the price.
“This is a tax on the sick and a tax on caring for those travelling to Solihull and Birmingham hospitals. People in Solihull have to worry about whether they can even afford to visit loved ones – with some having to miss last goodbyes due to cost pressures.
“The government should immediately provide the funding needed to scrap parking charges for patients and relatives.
“It is completely wrong that local residents have to shell out thousands of pounds to see their ill loved ones during this cost of living emergency.”
The Department for Health and Social Care said free car parking will continue to be available for disabled people, frequent outpatient attenders, the parents of sick children staying overnight and staff working night shifts.
It added this costs approximately £90million per year across the NHS.
A department spokesperson said: “We are delivering on the manifesto commitment to provide free hospital car parking to those who need it most, including NHS staff working night shifts.
“This has been implemented by 100 per cent of NHS trusts that charge for car parking.”