Hospital bosses have defended new on-site parking charges for blue badge holders.
From January 3, blue badge holders will have to pay for parking at Chesterfield Royal Hospital.
Previously, blue badge holders could access the spaces free of charge.
The hospital said it hopes the move will ensure the spaces are used ‘more appropriately’.
A spokesman for Chesterfield Royal Hospital NHS Foundation Trust said: “We asked people for their views and have decided to make parking consistent across the site, so our 120 blue badge spaces right at the front of the site will become ‘paid for’ from January 3rd 2017. We hope this means these spaces will be used more appropriately – and only by those entitled to display a permit. We know this car park is sometimes exploited by others and this often causes congestion with queues for ‘free’ spaces.
“To help reduce parking costs we’re encouraging people to buy a multi-visit pass as it’s not time limited and allows 14 visits on site, working out at £1.25 a time.
“There’s also the national NHS Low Income Scheme available to anyone receiving some government benefits. This enables people to claim back some of the costs associated with healthcare – including prescriptions, eye care and travel.”
The spokesman added: “Our car park income from staff, patient and visitor parking fees go towards the hospital’s annual running costs including car park and roadway repairs, site security and maintaining our grounds and gardens. The income we raise is a contribution that helps to protect budgets for patient care and staffing. A consistent approach would mean additional funds to run the site and saves money for other patient care essentials.”