Two Steps Back


Two Steps Back

Again from Pete…
While organizations like Macmillan Cancer Support are lobbying for free hospital parking in England, hoping the country will follow the example of Scotland and Wales, the new Master Plan for Parking published by the British Parking Association (BPA) in July says just the opposite.
"We support high standards of car parking for hospitals (compliant with the BPA's Hospital Parking Charter) and we want government and health service providers across the UK to recognise that free car parking does not deliver higher standards," states the BPA Master Plan for Parking.
"There is a need to recognise that services which have a value are better respected by the user and that the costs of running a car park should be met by the user, not the healthcare budget," the plan continues.
"We want to change the policy adopted by the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly Government and for them to re-introduce charges in accordance with the practices set out in the BPA's Hospital Parking Charter," the Master Plan adds.
The referenced BPA Hospital Parking Charter states that, "Concessionary parking should be given to the following people if public transport may be impractical for them or if parking charges could become a burden over time: patients with a long-term illness or serious condition needing regular or long-term treatment (for example, people having dialysis, radiotherapy or chemotherapy) and people who need to visit patients regularly."
It's one thing to suggest this for England, where it may actually be an improvement at some hospitals, but to reinstitute charges in Scottish and Welsh hospitals seems to me like taking two steps back.
Pete Goldin

Come on Pete – The "steps back" were taken when the hospitals decided not to charge. Charging not only enables the hospitals to provide parking for patients, but it also opens up parking and prevents poaching from surrounding areas. This has been proven in case after case. If there are in fact problems that people can't afford to pay, then a system of validations can be instituted. But to simply allow for "free" parking is absurd. There is no "free" parking, anywhere. It is paid for by the building owner, the taxpayer, or the person driving the car. If 1000 people a day visit a hospital and 100 drive cars, and parking is "free" then each of the 1000 pay for the parking for the 100. Fair? I don't think so. The BPA understand this and so should the Scottish and Welsh governments.

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John Van Horn

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