Julie Cooper MP tried to help reduce the cost of parking at hospitals for carers. The bill was filibustered. This was her hope:
The Bill makes provision for carers who are entitled to carer’s allowance to park free of charge in hospital car parks in England. The duties in the Bill would also apply to walk-in centres, GP practices and private hospitals. The Bill, if passed, will require health authorities to put in place a strategy to exempt a broader range of carers from paying parking charges within one year of the Act coming into force.
You can read the full discussion, and how it was talked out, here.
Having read the Hansard transcript linked above, these were my thoughts on twitter, as someone that would have benefited if the bill had become law.
Worth noting how Carers UK responded, pointing out Department of Health guidance which may help carers to get concessions:
The Bill failed to win enough support in the House of Commons today to progress to its next stage, making it almost impossible for it to become law.
Despite the outcome of today’s debate on the Bill, carers were given hope when the Department of Health updated its guidance on hospital parking charges to specifically include carers – for the very first time – as a group for which concessions, such as free or reduced charges or caps, should be available. Whilst these are guidelines and not legal duties on hospitals, national membership charity Carers UK believes this is a step towards tackling the unfair burden hospital parking charges place on carers.
They also mention these facts and figures:
- The UK’s 6.5 million carers save the state £119bn every year; close to the total amount spent annually on running the NHS
- Hospitals charge anywhere between an average of £11-£131.50 per week in parking charges when their loved ones go in to hospital
- The percentage of hospitals charging patients and visitors to park has doubled in a decade to 30% in 2014-15
- Of NHS Trusts that charge patients and visitors for parking in England, almost two-thirds (63%) have increased their charges since last year
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog