Health chief defends new car park fees

The chief executive of the Trust that runs Wolverhampton’s New Cross Hospital has strongly defended his controversial decision to increase car parking charges, as he warned of gloomy financial times ahead with NHS cuts beginning to bite.

New Cross Hospital
New Cross Hospital

The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust must save £15.3 million over the next three years as part of the Government’s plan to make £20 billion efficiency savings across the NHS.

To help make up the shortfall, car parking charges have increased – causing a backlash from patients, nearby residents, health professionals and politicians.

Fees at New Cross have gone up 50 per cent, while the cost of a one-hour stay has doubled to £2, free parking for the disabled has been scrapped and staff will be charged from next Monday.

Speaking at the Trust’s annual general meeting, David Loughton again took the opportunity to justify the decision.

The chief executive said budgetary requirements – including shelling out £1.5m on 10 consultants to cover weekends – meant he had “no choice”.

“I need to save £15m for this year and the next two years,” Mr Loughton said.

“I understand why people don’t like it and I wish there was another way, but there’s not.” The charges are now similar to other hospitals across the West Midlands and Staffordshire, which have been accused by patient groups and MPs of cashing on on the most vulnerable.

People living nearby the hospital have claimed that since the new tariffs came into force on September 3, they have seen more staff, patients and visitors clogging the surrounding streets rather than fork out to park on hospital grounds.

Mr Loughton said 500 staff members who live within one kilometre of the hospital still travel to work by car.

“The board told me five years ago to implement car parking charges for staff and we’ve put it off until now,” Mr Loughton added. “There simply is no choice.”

The Trust is bracing itself for budget cuts in the next financial year which Mr Loughton said would be felt, but not as keenly as at other Trusts.

He said: “It’s fair to say 2011/12 was a successful year without too many difficulties, which is not something I imagine saying for the next three or four years due to the NHS’s financial problems.

“Unfortunately demand is going to go up and the money we’re saving goes straight into the NHS. It’s saving money on one hand and spending it with the other.

“But we’re in a good financial position now, which will stand us in good stead.”

Comments for: "Health chief defends new car park fees"

sam

Those consultants are thinking with their wallets. Pay them less, they should do the job they were trained at the state's expense to do, not hold the hospital to random over obscene out of hours fees. People get sick 24/7 they knew that going into medicine, it's no surprise. Just like firemen, police, nurses and everyone else who keep the country going. The boss there should man up and stop whining about how he's robbing the poor sick and visitors to pay those money grabbing patient dodgers. Also, why not build a multi-storey in the first place, a modest investment that pays for itself within the year and takes the strain off the surrounding roads. Utter fools at that hospital utter fools.

George

I can not understand why you are blaming the consultants. The point is there is not enough of them to cover 24/7! Would you work for free on weekends or spend time with your family. Things have got worse because of Stafford, the pouplation getting fatter, drugs getting more expensive etc etc.The same is true for nurses and firemen. As far as I know when medical students join university paying £9000 fees for 5 years there nothing in the prospectus saying they would work 24/7!! If they were thinking about there wallets they would privitise the NHS and charge people like you are fortune!! Perhaps that's what you want?

Scott

Lets charge those who don`t turn up for appointments, self-inflicted conditions (drink, drug abuse, pregnancy under the age of 16) and not treat patients from abroad unless they have the means to pay (see article in Express and Star about people from abroad not paying for treatment).

Peter

Ahh yes the utter fools who will not build a multistory. Let me think, now. Should the hospital fund a course of expensive cancer treatment for 6 months to prolong a patients life for 4 months or should money go to fund IVF or gastric banding? Oh, I know forget all that we will build a multistory car park!! Then the patients can come to the hospital and park in the new car park and the hospital can tell them sorry madam we have no money to fund this medication because we spend the money on your car park!! It's always easy to criticize others.

paul mansell

why charge disable driver,s for parking it is dafted there should be more parking for disable people my wife is disable why do they after pay

Steve Tench

Just another example of the motorist being used as a cash cow. Local authorities do it, and hospitals think its ok for them to do it. Well its not! Its a disgrace. We aprk at hospitals because we are using health services that many of us have been paying for throughout our working lives so why is it ok for us to be ripped off?? That said, if we all have to pay then I can't see why those who are registered as disabled shouldn't pay. Why not?

Scott

Why does`nt Loughton reduce his hours like nurses are being forced to reduce theirs so they will have to work longer for less? I`m sure his input is`nt needed every day and at over £100,000 a year its costing to employ him, we can employ more nurses and save money on the car park.

Reg

The chief exec. at New Cross says there are staff who live within 1km of the hospital, So what! they still have to pay the same as someone who lives 50 miles away (cash generated again), and there are people like me who live close but will use the car to go to an appointment because I pay to park (more cash generated). Is the chief exec. going to stop patients from parking on New Cross because they live too close?

davewolf101

Surely by now these CEOs of hospitals must realise that us members of the general public can see the real issue. The many layers of unneeded, wasteful middle management. Get rid of these and keep the money from front line.

I have heard there are at least two layers he could cut.