Should hospitals charge for parking, Yes or No?
There, I’ve said it. Case closed. It really is a simple answer, but I think we’ve got far too caught up in the politics of hospital parking, and getting bad headlines is easy when we are charging relatives of critically ill patients or penalty charging hospital customers for short overstays.
The simple fact is that a car park is an expensive business to run, it must be staffed, secured and maintained, throw in rates and utilities and you regularly have a multi-million pound bill at the end of each year, which has to be paid by someone.
In our current economic state, surely its unethical to burden this cost to the taxpayer? It seems much more sensible to apply a simple charging regime to the car park and make sure the business can cover its costs, otherwise its just a false economy.
I think the real answer is to make sure these car parks offer the best service available, and have fair and appropriate charging for all customers. If you are going to leave your car then it should be safe and secure, and if you have an ill relative that requires constant care then surely its reasonable for you to be able to apply for a subsidised season pass without being penalised for overstays? These things are all so simple and should be at the core operation of any good car park, and hospital parking should certainly be no different.
This issue will always be contentious, but I think the argument becomes a lot clearer when the service that you offer is second to none and the visitors can be assured of a fair charge for their time in the car park. If your NHS car park is managed by an agent then make sure they have strict SLA’s in place and that the car park staff understand your core values, and if you manage an NHS car park then make sure you get these simple things right, because its your reputation on the line.
We should be proud of the NHS, its an amazing service that really puts our country in a league above the rest and I think hospital car parks should be a true extension of this service, looking after visitors from start to finish in a way that we, as the parking industry, can also be proud of.
Caring or careless? Well that clearly depends on the service you offer, but if you don’t get it right then it really could be an emergency waiting to happen.