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Surrey hospital to charge disabled people to park

3 minute read
Surrey hospital to charge disabled people to park

Published at 6:00am 13th March 2017.

A Surrey hospital is to begin charging disabled people to use its car parks.

Ashford and St Peter's says Blue Badge holders will begin paying because the financial climate has become 'significantly more challenging'.

It says the decision has not been taken lightly and the charges will help to ensure that its 'central funding is focused on the delivery of patient care'.

But not all Blue Badge holders will have to pay.

It will only apply to those who do not meet affordability criteria which would enable free parking.

In addition, the minimum parking charge is rising from £3.20 for two hours to £3.50 for the same time.

Parking concessions will remain available to people visiting on a frequent basis (for example patients receiving cancer treatment, cardiac rehabilitation and parents of young babies in our neonatal intensive care unit).

Medical Director of the Trust, Dr David Fluck, said: "Parking charges at NHS hospitals is always a contentious issue. And while we know everyone won’t agree with this decision, we feel it’s critical we do everything we can in this climate of constrained public finances and growing demand to protect our clinical services. 

"Aiming for equity and fairness towards all patients and visitors has always been an important consideration for the board and has been an important driver behind this decision."

Chief Executive, Suzanne Rankin, added: "We have already discussed this with a number of stakeholders including our Governors and patient representatives, and met with our Disability Group which comprises patients and representatives from disability groups across the local area. 

"Although people didn’t agree with the decision, we had a productive debate around the financial pressures we find ourselves in with many good ideas and suggestions put forward to ease implementation and ensure we support our most vulnerable patients and visitors. 

"Improved communication, easier access to reclaiming parking costs and improving access into our car parks were all suggestions we have agreed to look at over the next few weeks."

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