"High parking costs to visit a relative"

About: University Hospital (Coventry) / General surgery

(as a relative),

I had to pay ridiculous parking costs to visit a sick relative. Rather than start at 1 hour, you have to pay at least £3 for a 2 hour stay and this seems like amoral profiteering by whichever PFI is responsible.

Who negotiated the contract with them that allows this?

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Response from Daniel Ibeziako, Communications Manager, Communications, University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust

When the PFI contract was signed the Trust agreed to give the management of the car parks and its associated costs, including the initial construction, running costs and ongoing maintenance, to the private sector consortium. These car parks are secure, maintained to a high standard and well lit.

Car parking is one element of the contract given to a private company to provide “soft services” to the Trust. The full “soft services” contract includes car parking, catering, cleaning, portering, switchboard and security services – none of which can contractually be taken in isolation.

The Trust could reduce the car park charges – however this is money which would have to come out of funds for patient care. To eliminate car parking charges altogether would cost the Trust £2.4m a year which is the equivalent of closing three wards. In both cases this would inevitably mean cuts in other services.

Our primary focus is to provide high quality and safe care to our acutely sick patients. We do appreciate that car parking is an emotive issue which is why we are committed to looking at all options available at easing this – however our priority has to be to patient care and any decisions taken by the Trust will consider this first and foremost.

A strategic review of car parking has just been completed with support from Warwick Business School to evaluate all options available and car park pricing is one of the areas we have asked them to look into. The outcomes of this are expected in the summer and we will of course take on board the opinions expressed in the recent public consultation as part of this process.

In the meantime we will continue to do our best to help a large proportion of our visitors and patients by having our own concession scheme in place which includes free parking for patients who attend regularly for intravenous chemotherapy treatment, renal dialysis patients and for the parents who need to stay in hospital overnight to accompany their sick children.

We also operate an NHS travel concession scheme for patients on income support and patients and visitors are well supported by public transport routes onto site.

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