£4 an hour to park at hospital

SignsNHS trusts are charging visitors £3 or £4 per hour for hospital parking - sometimes two or three times the national average.

The average parking charge per hour stands at £1.15 , data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) reveal.

But some NHS hospitals charge a lot more than this, with the Birmingham Women's NHS Foundation Trust charging £4.

The Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust charges £3, as does the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and the Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

The Whittington Hospital NHS Trust in London also charges £3 per hour while the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust charges £2.50.

Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust charges £2.60 per hour and in Ealing, west London, the cost is £2.30.

Visitors are charged £2 per hour i n Lewisham, south London , £2.50 at Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and £2 at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: "Patients who have to attend hospital regularly or for long periods of time have a fundamental right to fair and appropriate car parking concessions, and we expect hospital trusts to provide them.

"NHS organisations set their own car parking policies and should work with their local communities to set them fairly and appropriately."

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