Parking fee increase is a 'kick in the teeth' Hospital plan will rip off patients says councillor.
A PLANNED parking fees hike at Coventry's University Hospital has been blasted as "insensitive" and a "kick in the teeth".
Councillor Steven Thomas, chair of Coventry City Council's health and social care scrutiny board, says hospital trust officials should think hard before introducing a new charging structure from April 1. If the plan is agreed by the trust's board later this month, they would be the first parking fees rises at the hospital in more than two years - but the Labour councillor fears patients will still feel ripped off.
Bosses at the Walsgrave hospital claim they can no longer afford to keep charges at the same level.
Most charges would go up by 30p, but stays of five hours would be increased by 50p, six hours by 70p and seven hours and over by 80p. Free parking would be reduced from the first half an hour to just 10 minutes.
Coun Thomas said: "The trust needs to remember that people are not made of money and in many cases have not had a pay rise in line with inflation.
"This plan seems very insensitive, particularly for people who go to hospital regularly.
"They would feel quite angry that they would have to fork out more money.
"The trust needs get a grip of the costs to stop patients effectively being ripped off.
"If the hospital had been built in the city centre there wouldn't be the access problems there are now.
"People would feel able to get the bus rather than drive."
University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickhire NHS Trust also wants to put up charges for parking at St Cross Hospital in Rugby from April 1. Trust bosses blame rising maintenance costs for its review of parking fees at the Barby Road site. If agreed, they would be the first parking charge increases at the Rugby hospital site since 2007.
Thomas The trust has made suggestions to increase prices from PS1.50 to PS1.60 for up to three hours, from PS4 to PS4.30 for between three and five hours, and between five and 24 hours from PS4 to PS7. "I don't accept that these are small increases," Coun Thomas added, "particularly for people who need regular visits to hospital.
"It would be a kick in the teeth because it's a lot of money at a time when people haven't had an inflation pay increase. People will not welcome this."
The plans will be discussed at the next public Trust Board meeting on March 26.
Coun Steven Thomas
Most parking charges at Coventry University Hospital would go up buy 30p