Residents in South Tyneside have reacted angrily to the announcement of changes to the hospital parking system.
Improvements to patient and visitor car parking at South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust announced they are introducing a 'pay as you exit' car parking system to improve the service for patients and visitors.
However, residents took to social media to complain the charges are increasing from £1.50 to £2 for up to an hour.
Numerous residents commented on the Shields Gazette's Facebook page saying they were unhappy with the increase and said parking at hospital should be free.
Sherrie McKean, said: "This is just a sneaky way of increasing prices. We already have the options of "first 20 minutes free" and "pay as you leave". The first hour is only £1.50 per hour but is now increasing to £2."
Julie Readman, said: "Rip off Britain strikes again.. more costs more people suffering not only in health but financially."
Sarah Dennison, added: "The prices are a disgrace. This is nothing to do with easing peoples stress, it's to ensure every person pays. Absolute greed, an easy money making machine as people have to visit for any number of reasons, including visiting their dying relatives."
Agnes George, said: "And the price has gone up "again" !!! Despicable moneygrabbers!!!"
June Bains, wrote: "Again the greed of private business is astounding. Change the system and charge more."
Joshua Hamilton, said: "Should be free it's nothing but a big rip off absolutely disgusting."
Gloria Lawlan, said: "All hospital parking should be free."
Graham Scaife, said: "Taxing the sick."
Brenda Reburn, said: "It should be free for patients and visitors it’s a disgrace that they have to pay."
However, a few people said the new system would make things easier, including Heather Short, who said: "Defo a better way to do it . They do this at the freeman a lot better way."
And, Edward Parker, added: "About time."
The new ‘pay on exit’ kiosks will be situated at Ingham Wing main entrance, maternity, outpatients and within the emergency department. Using the latest touch screen technology, patients and visitors will be given multiple payment options, including the ability to pay by coins and notes with change given, or to pay by card or contactless.
The system uses automatic number plate technology which recognises when vehicles enter and later leave the trust’s car parks.
The new fees will be, up to 20 minutes free, up to one hour, £2, up to two hours, £3, up to four hours, £4.50 and up to 24 hours, £8.
The current prices are up to one hour, £1.50, up to two hours, £3, up to three hours, £4.50 and up to 24 hours, £5.
The weekly pass will still cost £10, there will still be the designated free 20 minute drop-off and pick-up areas and blue badge holders will also continue to be exempt from all car parking charges, but must register any vehicles used to visit the hospital sites.