Second rise will hit those who are most vulnerable

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We’re not surprised that a patient group plans to ‘wage war’ on Carillion over its handling of car parking charges at Portsmouth’s hospital.

This private company’s decision to increase parking rates at QA for the second time in seven months is a real smack in the face for all those who, through no fault of their own, have to go there.

We were critical when Carillion hiked prices in November. We’re now disgusted to learn that from June 1, visitors will find themselves paying even more.

People who are ill, or who have friends or relatives who are ill, should not be treated like this.

Carillion had already dealt them a stinging left hook when it put prices up the first time and is now on the brink of delivering a powerful right hook to match.

Those who are perhaps the most vulnerable and therefore find themselves enduring the longest visits are ultimately the ones who have been penalised most.

Anyone who has the misfortune to park at QA for 12 hours or more has already seen the cost rise from £8 to £15.

By June, the original price will have been all but doubled as they’ll have to find £15.75 to feed the meter.

We’ve always argued that patients should not have to pay car parking charges at hospital anyway as the NHS is already funded by the taxpayer.

But if charges must be levied, the profits should be fed back into front-line services.

This can’t happen at QA because of the private finance initiative put in place to fund the building of the hospital.

Of course, many questions have already been raised about that particular deal and we suspect that there are still many more to come.

The maddening thing is that it appears nothing can be done to stop Carillion raising the car park rates. We do however urge readers to petition the government and MP Penny Mordaunt, who has also expressed concerns about this situation.

Hospital bosses at QA must also do everything they can to ensure that patients don’t feel the brunt of the PFI deal.