Wales introduces free hospital parking

Welsh hospitals to scrap parking charges
Welsh hospitals to scrap parking charges

There are no plans to introduce free hospital parking for patients in England, the government has said.

The Department of Health said it was not planning to mimic the Welsh policy but added "all government policies are always under review".

The Welsh assembly government announced today that all staff and patients will be able to park for free at Welsh hospitals by 2011.

Car parks operated directly by trusts will be free to use from April 1st while private companies will be told to reduce their costs until contracts expire.

The British Medical Association (BMA) recently condemned hospital parking charges as a "tax on the sick" and patients' groups have welcomed their abolition.

But concerns have been raised about the revenue implications, with parking charges raising £5.4 million for NHS trusts in Wales last year. The Welsh NHS Confederation said their loss would "inevitably" increase pressure on trusts.

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