More than £900,000 was raked in from car parking charges at Walsall Manor Hospital in less than a year – £140,000 higher than expected due to a rising number of admissions.
An increase in patients and visitors saw the anticipated level of income from last April to end of January this year rise above the £770,000 target.
Bosses at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust today said the hectic winter period has seen demand for parking spaces rise. An increased number of patients from the overnight closure of Stafford Hospital’s A&E department is also to blame.
It comes as Walsall Manor Hospital could see another increase of hundreds of extra patients under new £70m proposals to downgrade Cannock and Stafford hospitals by health watchdog Monitor.
The Walsall site saw a 30 per rise in the treatment of patients from Staffordshire in less than 12 months due to the reduced A&E opening hours at Stafford. Health chiefs dealt with more than 35 extra people a week from Staffordshire from April and December 2012, compared to the same period 12 months before.
It was also one of the busiest December and January at the Manor in years. On three days in December, there were more than 90 emergency admissions a day. In the six months to December, there was a 14 per cent rise and extra staff and beds were made available in a bid to ease the workload.
Budgeted income from car parking was £770,000 between April 1, 2012, and January 31, 2013, but the trust received £910,000.
Jayne Tunstall, chief operating officer at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “This winter the trust has seen an increase in patients being admitted to hospital and therefore more people visiting their family and friends. This has resulted in an increase in people using our car parks, resulting in a revenue increase of £140,000.”
A ‘pay on foot’ system operates, costing £1 for 30 minutes, £2 for the first hour and £1 per hour up to a maximum daily fee of £6.