Car parking charges at South Tyneside District Hospital - branded a “disgrace” by a local councillor have come under fire from readers.
New figures revealed health bosses raised £608,140 from car parking in 2016/17 - including £224,377 from the hospital Trust’s own staff.
That represents an income increase of £99,246 on 2015/16.
Coun John McCabe hit out at the figures, saying: “It’s a disgrace, These charges are just a cash cow.
“Almost a quarter of million from the staff? It’s ludicrous. Compared to other Trusts, the parking charges are reasonable, but they are not needed. There are other ways of financing hospitals.”
Steve Jamieson, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s director of estates and facilities, said: “Like all NHS Trusts, we operate a car parking system for our staff, patients and visitors at South Tyneside District Hospital and our other sites, and our charges remain amongst the lowest in the NHS.
“Any income generated is used to ensure the upkeep and maintenance of the car parking facilities and in providing a responsive security service on site for the benefit of everyone – patients, visitors and staff.”
There was some supports for the Trust’s policy but Gazette readers, on the whole, have little sympathy for hospital bosses.
Many took to our Facebok page to make their views known.
Jennifer Hudson wrote: “All hospital car parks should be free.
“Its bad enough dealing with illness or trauma without having to worry paying to park as well.”
But Vicky Chisholm wrote: “£608,000 raised for the NHS and it’s a bad thing? Am I missing something here?
Steven Burn added: “If it all went to the NHS then wouldn’t be so bad but it’s run by a private firm so obviously it’s run for profit.
“Staff should not be charged.”
Margaret Davies branded the pricing policy as “Money obtained from peoples misery and with no choice.”
Julia Perry wrote: “There’s land doing nothing directly opposite the hospital. Why can’t they create a free car park there?”
Michelle Knox Ross added: “Parking at all hospitals should be free.”