Patients have reported being charged even up to £10 a day for parking in certain parts of the country. However car-parking firms claimed that without parking charges shoppers would also use hospital car parks to 'fly park'.
According to Susan Lloyd, the Royal College of Nursing lead steward, 'Car parking charges within our health service are morally wrong,' she said. 'It is an important issue not just for staff but for patients and relatives. The principle of the NHS is that care should be given free at the point of need. On that basis we should abolish car parking charges.'
At the Royal Infirmary in Edinburgh, parking is £10 for more than six hours. The Western General also charges £7 for more than four hours, while St John's Hospital in Livingston charges £1 per day. The North-east also has a high proportion of hospitals that charge, as well as Glasgow and Inverness.
Kate Seymour, of Macmillan Cancer called attention to the plight of cancer patients who are forced to come to hospital regularly for chemotherapy.
'With cancer patients we are talking about people who are undergoing great stress, who have had to give up their jobs and who have not got much money. For many, parking charges are the last straw.'