Page last updated at 14:52 GMT, Monday, 7 September 2009 15:52 UK

Patients 'not told about parking'

Hospital car park (library photo)
Both hospitals said they offered free or discounted parking charges

A cancer charity says regular hospital patients in Devon and Cornwall are not being told about parking concessions.

Macmillan Cancer Support said both the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro and Plymouth's Derriford Hospital offered concessions to some regular visitors.

But it added that often patients were not aware of them.

The Royal Cornwall Hospital said it always offered free parking for cancer patients. Derriford Hospital said it had a range of concessionary tickets.

A survey by Macmillan Cancer Support of 337 patients in England found that that more than half of cancer patients did not get free or discounted parking on hospital visits, contrary to government guidelines.

It would be really helpful if they were to let the patients know
Judith Jolley, Macmillan Cancer Support

The Department of Health has recommended NHS trusts in England offer some kind of concession for people who require repeat visits to hospital.

Judith Jolley from the charity said that the Plymouth and Truro hospitals were "much better than a lot".

But she added: "But what they don't do is tell patients about it, so patients can go through a whole chemotherapy series without knowing.

"It would be really helpful if they were to let the patients know when they sent them their letter of appointment."

The Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust said it had always offered free parking for cancer patients who were attending hospital regularly for chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments at the Sunrise Centre and haematology department.

It said free parking was also extended to certain other patient groups, such as those coming for renal dialysis.

Patient departmental permits which allowed free parking were also available to patients at its diabetic, hydrotherapy and GU medicine departments, as well as its child development centre and pain clinic.

Concessionary rates were available for all patients or visitors attending the hospitals on a regular basis, it said.

However, it added: "The number of free spaces are limited by the physical amount of space available near the departments being visited."

Derriford Hospital said it offered a concessionary tickets of just £1.20 a day to patients attending clinics for radiotherapy, renal, chemotherapy, physiotherapy, dermatology and oncology.

Parents or carers of children attending the Derriford Children's Cancer Service are also eligible for the concessionary tickets, it added.

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