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Hospitals: Parking

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance he issues to NHS bodies on the level of charges levied at hospital car parks; whether such guidance permits the setting of charges at levels above those required for cost recovery; and if he will make a statement. (197718)

National health service bodies are able to charge for car parking on their premises as an income generation scheme. NHS bodies have income generation powers enabling them to generate income by utilising spare capacity resulting from a non-core function.

Providing car parking services will inevitably incur overheads that must be paid for, such as maintenance and operational costs, security and lighting. If no charges were imposed, these costs would have to be found from elsewhere, at the risk of diverting funds away from patient services. Profits after covering these costs are allowed, but they must only be used to improve the health service.

The Department issued revised guidance to the NHS in December 2006 entitled Income Generation: Car Parking Charges—Best Practice for Implementation on the issues to be considered when setting up a car parking scheme or when reviewing existing ones, including what kind of car parking scheme to offer, what charges to impose and what concessions to consider.

However, the fact remains that it is for individual NHS bodies to set the level of car parking charges on their premises, taking account of all the relevant local factors.