CONTROVERSIAL plans to raise parking charges at a hospital have been criticised.
Contractor Carillion is raising fees at Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, by an average of 3.7 per cent.
From Monday, it will cost £16.50 to park at QA for more than 12 hours – up 80p from £15.70.
Drivers parking in the multi-storey or north car parks will get their first 15 minutes free.
Motorists displaying a disabled badge will still pay £1.60 a day.
And visitors or patients staying at the hospital longer than a week or who need at least seven sessions of continuous treatment can pay a reduced rate of £1.60 a day at the discretion of the ward sister or nurse in charge.
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust will pay the difference to Carillion – which last year made pre-tax profits of £212m – if the concession is approved. Everyone else must pay the full charges.
It is the third time Carillion has increased fees since taking over the management of the trust’s car parks in 2009 as part of the private finance initiative deal.
Richard Barron, 32, of Winchfield Crescent, Bedhampton, received a ticket after the £4 he paid to park at QA ran out while he was waiting with his partner, who was suffering from a severe migraine.
‘I’ve now had to pay an extra £61.50 and I can’t believe they are putting the prices up again,’ he said.
‘It’s taking advantage of people when they are at their most vulnerable.’
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt said: ‘It’s important that people have visitors when they’re in hospital and anything that puts them off, such as extremely high parking changes, is definitely a bad thing.
‘The key to all of this is for the hospital to renegotiate the PFI contract it has with Carillion.’
Cllr Peter Eddis, chairman of the city council’s health overview and scrutiny panel, said: ‘I don’t think people should be charged at all for parking at a hospital, particularly those who have serious medical reasons for being there. But it’s not something we have any say over. Not even the hospital has any say over it.’
Peter Mellor, trust company secretary, said: ‘The trust recognises Carillion’s contractual right to increase car parking charges in line with the Retail Price Index.’
Carillion was given the chance to comment but did not return calls from The News.