Hosptial car parking charging policy differs across the UK
Health Secretary Andy Burnham says Labour hopes to scrap hospital parking charges for in-patients in England if the party wins the next election.
He said patients would get a permit to cover the length of their stay which visitors could use to park for free.
Wales and Scotland are both scrapping fees for everyone.
BBC News website readers have been sharing their stories.
As a regular out-patient at hospitals in this area, the cost of hospital parking varies considerably. My main complaint is that if I travel by car I can claim refund of the expense based on the mileage at 10p per mile as I have an HC2 certificate, however I cannot claim the cost of using the hospital car park which is often the greater of the two expenses. Parking should be free for all bona-fide patients.
Andrew Bleasdale, Bishop Auckland
My boyfriend had his appendix out yesterday and between taking him to A&E, waiting with him to go to surgery and visiting him afterwards I ended up spending £10 on parking and constantly worrying whether my ticket was about to run out. It seems ridiculous to have to be thinking about something like that when your loved ones are going through serious procedures.
Jennie, Harlow, Essex
I don't see that many in-patients who know they are about to be admitted to hospital driving there; such a small number of people would be affected vs. out-patients who are often kept waiting in their respective departments by underpaid and overworked doctors struggling to see the numbers of patients booked in to see them. I'd like to see hospital parking charges waived for all hospital patients attending hospital who can prove they had (or kept) an appointment or were an in-patient.
Karen Stewart, Doncaster
I don't actually mind paying in a hospital car park when I am visiting someone, but I do strongly object when I am the patient - whether it be an in-patient or an out-patient. Surely most in-patients get a lift to the hospital anyway, so its the out-patients that are currently suffering. Why don't they think about just charging visitors? Plus, may I just add, recently half of my two local hospital car parks have been blocked off due to renovations and by the time you get parked you are already late for your appointment without the added pain of having to find a pay machine!
Jaimie Farrand, Normanton, Near Wakefield, West Yorkshire
My son had just died very unexpectedly and his body was at the hospital where it had been taken from his home. I wanted to see him and I had to pay parking fees in order to do this.
Valerie Bennett, Truro, Cornwall
My father was diagnosed with cancer and was an in-patient at a hospital in Wolverhampton. After several visits, we noticed a very small sign in the pay booth stating 'please call for details of discounted parking' - no phone number or extension was given! Certainly gave us the impression that they are not particularly keen to make patients/visitors' life any easier!
Yvonne Cannavan, Wolverhampton
My 13-year-old son was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes which required five days in hospital. The car park charges £7.20 for over four hours (right up to a whole day) - not difficult when spending time in with your child discussing his treatment, etc. Once I left the hospital to sort out things for my other children after paying £7.20 and returned later only to start racking up another £7.20 for the second session - the day's ticket wouldn't cover for both visits on the same day. These charges take advantage of a captive audience often at a very worrying time in their lives - profiteering and immoral!
Anne Bebbington, Taunton, Somerset
This is a cynical promise. Most in-patients are in and will not have left their car in the car-park. It's their visitors, especially family who bear the cost of parking.
Josephine, United Kingdom
Another electoral promise, why couldn't this like a lot of other promises be brought in before. Surely by now the public have had enough of politicians to last a lifetime. My wife has to attend hospital frequently and we are lucky if we can find a parking place. Patients and family come last. I'm 72 and have had to park in a Morrison's before now.
P Klitofsky, Sutton in Ashfield
I am a disabled person and I have to attend hospital for regular check-ups. Almost every time I go I have to wait for some time before a parking space becomes available. I need a wide disabled bay as I use a wheelchair. Some time ago the number of accessible bays at the hospital was increased, but even so I regularly have to wait for a space. One thing they should clampdown on is people sitting in cars occupying these spaces, whilst waiting for someone who is receiving treatment, or visiting an in-patient.
Peter Wilson, Wallsend, Tyne and Wear
From my experience most in-patients wouldn't drive themselves to hospital anyway and parking fees are more relevant to out-patients and visitors. A bit of an empty gesture really.
J Howell, Guildford, Surrey
Many NHS clinical staff have contracts that stipulate they must have a car (to visit patients at home or in other hospitals). These staff are then charged extortionate charges to park at work, when they have no choice but to have a car to fulfil their contractual obligations. It is a NHS trust tax on staff and is an outrage. Staff charges to prop up trust funding shortfalls.
Excellent idea but how about the nurses? How many people realise that nurses also have to pay a considerable sum to park at the hospitals where they work.
Anna Burns, Lutterworth, Leicestershire
What about free parking for NHS staff? As a staff nurse I have to pay £120 per year to park my car. Shouldn't nurses and other NHS employees be entitled to free parking? I feel that charging us to park is an insult to our hard work and commitment we give to the trust and our patients. I believe that most other UK companies/organisations don't charge parking fees to their employees, why should we have to pay?
James Howard-Jones, High Wycombe