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Hospitals: Parking

Volume 498: debated on Thursday 29 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) pursuant to the answer to my hon. Friend the Member for South Cambridgeshire (Mr. Lansley) of 14 October 2009, Official Report, column 901W, on hospitals: parking, which back-office costs will be reduced; what benefits to outpatients will result from the improved concession guidance; and how such benefits will be funded; (295752)

(2) what calculations underlie his estimate of the cost per annum of phasing out car parking for in-patients and their visitors at hospitals; and what his estimate is of the annual cost of each element of the scheme;

(3) what estimate he has made of the proportion of his proposals which can be afforded (a) in 2009-10 and (b) in 2010-11.

National health service organisations provide car parking to patients and visitors based on their local plans, needs and circumstances. Therefore, the details of implementing free car parking for in-patients will vary between different NHS organisations including the proportion that can be afforded in each year and which back-office costs will be reduced. However, all NHS organisations are expected to have fully implemented the change within three years. The improved concession guidance will benefit out-patients by stressing the importance of tangible concessions for regular users, particularly out-patients, and by ensuring that all eligible patients are made fully aware of them.

The estimate of annual cost per annum for phasing out in-patient car parking of £141 million was based on two figures. The direct cost of in-patient parking was based on the number of bed days recorded for elective, emergency and maternity care with each of the bed days resulting in two hours parking at the national average cost of visitor car parking per hour of £1.00 giving a total of £93 million. In addition, the impact of the NHS paying for private finance initiative and other commercial agreements was estimated at an additional £48 million.