Page last updated at 17:37 GMT, Thursday, 26 June 2008 18:37 UK

Call to scrap NHS parking fees

Raigmore Hospital car park sign
Labour has called for all hospital car parking to be free

Car parking charges at Scottish hospitals would be scrapped under plans unveiled by Scottish Labour.

The Glasgow Springburn MSP Paul Martin has launched a members bill on the issue at Holyrood.

He wants it made illegal for health boards to levy fees on patients, visitors or staff.

The Scottish Government recently introduced a 3 cap on charges at most hospitals.

Mr Martin has been an outspoken critic of the introduction of fees at Stobhill Hospital in Glasgow.

He said: "If commercial sites like Braehead and the Fort can provide free car parking, is it not a sad reflection that people are being cared for in hospital and their families have to pay to park?

"It is an extra hassle that patients and their families do not need at what is already a stressful enough time."

Even 3 a day is a significant amount if you are low-paid or have to visit a hospital regularly
David Watson

Labour said the bill would apply to hospitals built under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) which are not included in the three pound cap on charges.

The public sector union Unison said it backed the proposal.

Scottish organiser David Watson said: "There is an obvious need to cut the car parking charges that have become a tax on the sick in too many hospitals in Scotland.

"Even 3-a-day is a significant amount if you are low-paid or have to visit a hospital regularly."

A Scottish Government spokesman said car parking was currently free at most hospitals and should remain so.

"Nicola Sturgeon has made clear in revised guidance that a maximum charge of 3 for parking should be used as a last resort where car parks are congested," he added.

Health boards have been asked to review their policies and report to the Government on how they comply with the revised guidance.

He said that would include information on hospitals operated under PFI contracts, and that further action may be taken.

3 cap on hospital parking charge
21 Dec 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Hospital car park charges delayed
22 Nov 07 |  Glasgow, Lanarkshire and West
Review of hospital parking fees
14 Sep 07 |  Scotland

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