Representing estates and facilities professionals operating within the  



Hefma features in Good Housekeeping

Britain’s best-selling women’s monthly magazine recently approached Hefma to comment on the controversial issue of hospital carparking, which has featured in national media in recent weeks.

The magazine’s consumer affairs writer Nathalie Bonney wanted to know Hefma’s thoughts on calls by some patient groups for free carparking in NHS England.

It has been said that introducing free hospital car parks for hospitals in England would shave potentially hundreds of millions of pounds from the NHS budget at a time of increasing financial pressure.

Hospital carparking charges in busy urban areas tend to mirror the going commercial rate elsewhere in city centres.

This is aimed at deterring motorists unconnected to patients or hospitals from using our car parks as a free or subsidised facility and adding to congestion and potentially parking on approaches that must be kept clear for emergency vehicles.

“Hospital carparking needs to reflect common sense and compassion, neither of which is mutually exclusive,” explains Jane Renton, group editorial director of H2O, which publishes Hefma’s bi-monthly magazine.

“Hefma strongly urges all hospital car park operators working in the NHS to follow the British Parking Association’s Charter for hospital parking. Exceptions can be made and already are in place at many hospitals for patients who have to visit hospital on a daily or regular basis,” she says.

The code not only requires ‘reasonable tariffs’ set in consultation with users, but also concessionary parking for patients with long-term illnesses or serious conditions requiring regular treatments.

This would cover treatments such as dialysis, radiotherapy or chemotherapy.

The code also urges hospitals and car park operators to design systems that recognise the unavoidable, unplanned and unpredictable nature of visits to hospitals.

They should ensure that enforcement action does not penalise people, such as doctors and families, whose contravention of parking rules could not have been avoided.