Hospital defends parking charge rise

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Hospital bosses have defended a hike in parking charges.

There was anger this week when St Richard’s Hospital announced it was increasing charges.

The fee for parking in the Chichester hospital visitor car parks is jumping from £6 to £11.20 for eight hours and over.

From April 2, parking for up to three hours is also rising to £4.30 and up to five hours £8, though hour-long parking is going down by 30p.

It means staff working five days a week will have to pay £224 a month to park there all day.

But a hospital spokesperson said it was the first rise for some time.

“We appreciate car parking charges are never popular but there have been no increases for several years,” said the spokesperson.

“Most visitors park for less than two hours and following these changes they will either pay the same or less, as our one-hour rate is reduced.

“We try to keep our charges in line with other comparable city centre car parks to discourage non-hospital visitors from parking at the hospital, which helps ensure there is as much capacity for patients and their visitors as possible.

“Few staff park in the public spaces and instead are offered discounted on-site parking, although given the limited space this is not available for all and there is a waiting list.

“Therefore, we encourage colleagues to use other means of transport to get into work, wherever possible.

“We also provide significant concessions for patients who are in hospital for long periods, and for those using our Carer’s Passport or receiving regular dialysis for example, we ensure their parking is free.

“The income from our car parks directly supports the delivery of frontline care and is used to improve patient services across the trust.”