The painful truth about hospital parking fees

inhalerHospital parking fees have sent my stress levels through the roof on several occasions. Few experiences are more likely to reduce a parent to tears than discovering, as you pull into the hospital car park with your wheezing, blue-lipped asthmatic child, that you need to find several pounds-worth of change before you can park and get medical help.

My son is a teenager now and his asthma has improved a lot in the past couple of years, but I will never forget the sheer terror of scrabbling in my bag for the correct change while he visibly wilts beside me. When your GP says, ‘Take him in to hospital NOW’, you don’t go home to get your credit cards: you drive straight to the hospital.

Yes, once the patient has been admitted there may be concessions (especially for children) but that doesn’t help parents’ panic levels on arrival.

In Scotland, hospital car parking charges were abolished in 2009, and in Wales, all but four hospitals have stopped charging for parking.

I welcome the government’s new guidelines, which say that hospital car parks should include ‘pay-on-exit’ schemes (now that would alleviate the scrabble for change) and waive fines for people who overstay through no fault of their own. Come on England!

I couldn't agree more. I've

I couldn't agree more. I've had similar experiences. Once, I had no cards or cash on me and I had to leave my asthmatic child in the car while I frantically ran around the car park trying to find someone to help. The payment booth wasn't manned and in the end I had to ask a stranger to lend me some money.

Once my child was admitted, it was fine because we were given a free parking pass, but the whole experience was highly stressful at a time when I really could have done without it.

I can only add my own tale of

I can only add my own tale of woe - involving a very screamy baby - to the previous posters' experiences. The sooner hospital parking fees are parked, the better for everyone.

That's awful. The stress and

That's awful. The stress and panic of arriving with a barely-breathing child and having to scrape around for parking money before leaving your car must be horrendous. Surely GPs who tell you to drive to hospital rather than wait for an ambulance could give you a explanatory note to put on your dashboard? Anyway, hopefully if the new guidelines are implemented that should no longer be an issue...

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