A borough council is asking for the government to step in to help resolve a row over parking charges at Shrewsbury and Telford hospitals.
The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital Trust raised its already controversial car parking charges in November, with up to 24 hours of parking at both hospitals now costing £8, more than double the previous £3.50 charge.
Telford & Wrekin Councillor Arnold England, cabinet member for communities, health and wellbeing in the town, will put a motion to the council’s chamber which is expected to state:
“This council calls on SaTH to reverse their recent increase in parking charges at the Princess Royal Hospital at Telford and calls on the government to replace the projected lost income to avoid a worsening financial deficit for the trust.”
Powys County Councillor for Newtown East and Chair of Montgomeryshire Joy Jones agrees that the increases should be scrapped.
Cllr Jones called for hospital bosses to rethink their charges which she said would lead to people being ‘taxed for being sick’.
“I think the increases need scrapping, they should never have been put up as the hospital trust already makes a healthy profit on it’s car parking.
“People are going to be struggling with this.
“They have to visit the hospital for treatment, and for others they have to visit family and loved ones and they have no choice.
“But many people won’t be able to afford the charges and I think it’s disgusting that they’re being asked to pay these fees.
“I understand that the hospital trust needs to raise money and if all the money went back into patient care then I would have more sympathy for it, but a lot of it goes on the management and a lot seems to be going on the enforcement of the fees.
“It amounts to little more than a tax for being sick.”
The hospitals at Telford and Shrewsbury are the closest 24 hour major Accident and Emergency units for the majority of Mid Wales.
Complex maternity cases are often transferred to Telford’s consultant led women and children’s centre for specialist care.
Between them, the two sites have generated more than £3 million in car parking fees over the past two years for the cash strapped Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital trust, which is forecasting a deficit of £18 million for the current financial year.