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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 July 2006, 14:39 GMT 15:39 UK
Car park charge is 'tax on sick'
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
Aberdeen Royal Infirmary introduced a new 'long stay' charge
Health service chiefs have been urged to review a new car park charge system at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary over claims it is unfair to patients and visitors.

The 1 charge has been increased to 5 for those staying for longer than five hours, to stop people using the car park instead of parking in town.

A NHS Grampian spokeswoman said in exceptional circumstances people would be eligible for an exemption voucher.

However, Lib Dem MSP Mike Rumbles said it was "like a tax on the sick".

"I think they need to put in place a system which enables people to visit the hospital at low cost," he said.

Nationalist MP Brian Adam also condemned the system and said visitors and patients could be issued with car parking cards instead.

'Comparatively cheap'

"These charges are ridiculous and are part of the creeping commercialisation of the NHS," he said.

"The idea of having people think about whether or not they need to get an exemption when their loved ones may be in hospital for a prolonged period is just a nonsense."

A NHS Grampian spokeswoman said its evidence had found a "relatively small number" of people had been using the hospital car park as a cheaper alternative to parking in town.

She said Aberdeen Royal Infirmary's charges were not as expensive compared to some other cities.

Staff at the hospital will continue to pay 1 per day.

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