Hospital parking charges in England have long been a source of contention, often described as a ‘tax on the sick’ and a burden on those caring for them. While Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have scrapped them completely, in England, the issue remains a significant concern. The 2019 Tory manifesto promised to end these “unfair hospital parking charges,” yet five years later, the situation seems to have worsened. The latest NHS estates data reveals a 50% increase in parking revenue, totalling £145.9 million in 2023, up from £97.9 million the previous year. Our comprehensive analysis in the Hospital Parking Report 2024 delves into this issue, offering a regional breakdown by Trust and Hospital site to illustrate the extent of charges levied on the sick and carers.
Trust Level Data Analysis
In 2023, NHS Trusts in England collectively generated an unprecedented £145.9 million from parking charges, highlighting a 50% increase from the prior year. The UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS COVENTRY AND WARWICKSHIRE NHS TRUST stands out with the highest revenue at £5,197,810, a stark 45% higher than the UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS OF DERBY AND BURTON NHS FOUNDATION TRUST, which collected £3,583,196.
Significant year-over-year increases were also noted. LIVERPOOL UNIVERSITY HOSPITALS NHS FOUNDATION TRUST, for instance, experienced a rise of £1,588,404 in 2023 following the reversal of its COVID-related parking policies. Similarly, the UNIVERSITY HOSPITAL OF NORTH MIDLANDS NHS TRUST saw an increase of £1,501,783, bringing its total income to a substantial £2,021,709.
This table details the parking revenues for each trust, providing insights into regional disparities and the financial impact on patients and visitors.
Hospital-Level Data Analysis
Our analysis extends to comparing the parking charges at 251 of England’s largest hospitals.
The data reveals that hospitals like ST PETER’S HOSPITAL, ASHFORD HOSPITAL, and EAST SURREY HOSPITAL are among the most expensive for short-term parking, charging a whopping £4.50 for stays of up to one hour. This high cost of short-duration parking raises questions about accessibility and the additional financial strain on individuals seeking healthcare.
We have broken down each of the hourly parking rates at each of the 251 hospitals we investigated.
The Hospital Parking Report 2024 underscores a troubling trend in England’s healthcare system: the escalating cost of hospital parking. With revenues soaring by 50% in just one year, the financial burden on patients and carers intensifies, contradicting the ethos of accessible healthcare. The stark differences in charges between trusts and individual hospitals highlight not only a lack of uniformity but also raise concerns about equity and fairness. As healthcare seeks to be patient-centred, these findings prompt an urgent reevaluation of parking policies, balancing operational costs against the fundamental principle of ensuring healthcare accessibility for all.
We compiled trust-level data from NHS’s Estates Return information and hospital-level data from each individual site or associated third-party parking provider. A full list of these sources can be found in column N here.