Anger over hospital parking charges - Dewsbury MP wants debate in House of Commons

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Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff wants a debate in the House of Commons over the increase in hospital parking charges.

Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust has introduced new charges for disabled blue badge holders at Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury Hospitals.

Motorists are now charged £2 for parking for up to one hour and £2.80 for longer.

Charges increased for drivers without a blue badge, from £1.30 to £2 for up to one hour and from £4.10 to £5 for between two and four hours.

At Dewsbury and District Hospital, a pay-on-exit charging system was introduced.

Drivers are still allowed 20 minutes free parking for picking up and dropping off patients and visitors.

But Ms Sherriff questioned whether the trust had its priorities right by introducing the new charges.

She said: “Disabled people often find it much harder to use public transport and taking a car to hospital in many cases is their only option.

“I have been contacted by distraught constituents who have to use the hospital multiple times a week for treatment such as dialysis and blood tests.

“Many are pensioners and have little disposable income.”

Ms Sherriff wrote to Mid Yorkshire NHS Trust Stephen Eames about the increase in charges and they are due to meet in the next two weeks.

Kevin Oxley, the trust’s director of operations for estates and facilities, said: “We accept these changes are unpopular but they are reasonable steps to provide sufficient parking capacity for those who need it.

“It contributes to the costs of running safe and secure facilities, safeguard access to blue badge parking and concessions for certain groups of patients and visitors.

“Introducing capped car parking charges for Blue Badge holders will enable us to invest in parking provision for this group of motorists across our three main hospital sites.”

The blue badge parking charges and new charging system at Dewsbury hospital came into force in September.

The increases for other motorists started on Saturday, August 1.

Concessions remain for patients and visitors who have to use the hospitals regularly.

And refunds are available for people on benefits including Pension Credit Guarantee Credits under the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme.