Wednesday 18th August 2010
Be Wiser Insurance

MPs have described charges for hospital parking as a "mess", recommending that parking should be free for patients receiving daily care such as chemotherapy.

They also recommended that people who require frequent care should be issued with "season tickets". The committee suggests prescription charging should be revamped and charging patients who go to A&E for non-emergency care and those who miss GP appointments.

The MPs renewed calls for a reassessment of the medical exemption list - where people with certain conditions do not have to pay for prescriptions, whatever their income. The list dates from 1968 - and is outdated, the committee said.

During 2004/05 the NHS charged £78 million for parking facilities, £63 million of which was paid out of the public pocket.

"In the short term, parking fees should be reduced - or eliminated altogether - for patients attending hospital regularly," said the committee chair.

"It is unacceptable that people have to pay hundreds of pounds to attend for necessary treatment."

"Cancer treatment involves a lot of expensive machinery - a hospital parking meter should not be one of them," added a spokesman for Macmillan Cancer Support.

The NHS Confederation warned that parking was limited and that a free system would leave itself open to abuse, however. The government has promised to examine the recommendations but has remained non-committal on the issue.

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