TV doc Lord Robert Winston backs free hospital parking for patients and families
TV doctor and peer Lord Robert Winston has backed calls for hospitals to offer free parking for patients and their visitors.
The presenter of The Human Body and Making Babies revealed he had refused to pay hospital parking fines in the past and blamed the entire system on Tory underfunding of the NHS.
His comments come after it emerged hospitals made £174m in parking charges this year. Hourly charges can reach up to £4, with only a portion going to healthcare as the car parks are run by for-profit firms.
The Labour peer told the Daily Mirror: “I am in favour of free parking for patients and families.”
On being handed fines for failing to pay, he added: “I myself have refused to pay these fines on a number of occasions.
“It has happened from time to time. I was visiting people who were ill and, on another occasion, delivering supplies.
“I do reply to them but I challenge it and I found if you are persistent with them [parking operators] they give up.”
But he said a system must be in place to ensure free hospital parking is not abused, and he said charges for staff could depend on the location of the hospital and its access to public transport.
A spokesman for NHS providers, which represents hospital trusts, told the paper: “The revenue is mainly used to maintain facilities but also to reinvest in patient care.
“If this funding is removed then it will need to be found from other sources.
“A key issue here is that hospitals and other NHS trusts continue to be funded below the levels they should be.”