Closer to the end of hospital parking charges?

By Ian Dunt

Andy Burnham has promised an end to hospital parking charges within three years, in his speech to the Labour party conference in Brighton.

The health secretary used his keynote speech to defend the party’s record on the NHS and question whether the Conservatives could be trusted with the institution.

“We can’t do it overnight. But over the next three years, as we can afford it, I want to phase out car parking charges for in-patients, giving each a permit for the length of their stay which family and friends can use,” he said.

Mr Burnham also told delegates he would link hospital funding to quality and patient satisfaction rates.

In a relatively well-received speech, the health secretary poured scorn on Daniel Hannan, the Tory MEP who appeared on American news networks to deride the NHS as a 60-year mistake.

The comments provoked a mass Twitter campaign, where tens of thousands of internet users proclaimed their love for the health service.

Just before Mr Burnham appeared on stage a Labour delegate told the conference hall Mr Hannan should be tried for treason, to loud cheers from the audience.