Hospital car park brings in £272,000

PATIENTS and visitors are being charged more than £250,000 a year to park at Weston General Hospital. Weston Area Health Trust made £272,000 from parking fees in 2004/05 and it forecasts it will make 'slightly more' in the current financial year. Under Go

PATIENTS and visitors are being charged more than £250,000 a year to park at Weston General Hospital.Weston Area Health Trust made £272,000 from parking fees in 2004/05 and it forecasts it will make 'slightly more' in the current financial year.Under Government rules, NHS trusts are allowed to set their own charges for car parking. The Department of Health says parking charges stop motorists who are not visiting or using the hospital from using the car park.Since April 2005, motorists at Weston General Hospital in Grange Road, Uphill, have been able to park free of charge for the first 15 minutes and then pay £1.50 for the next hour.Those staying for up to two hours must pay £2.50 while those parking for four or more hours are charged £4. Long-term patients' visitors can buy 10 tickets for £15.Health chiefs in Weston said the cash made from car parking is used for security and maintenance of the hospital grounds.This included spending £130,000 on a security contract and £27,000 on maintenance work to improve the hospital's front entrance.A hospital spokesman said: "The trust reinvests the money it raises from car parking charges into measures to help keep our patients, staff and visitors safe on site and to maintain a clean and pleasant environment."To this end, we employ a security firm to patrol the site, as well as using CCTV. Other costs include maintenance commitments, such as ensuring the car park barriers operate smoothly and safely and that the external lighting is adequate.


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