The study says just 46 of all the 359 hospitals studied offer free parking – including eight in Derbyshire, the highest number in a single county.
Hospitals in Derbyshire offering free parking include: Belper’s Babington Hospital; Buxton Hospital; Cavendish Hospital, Buxton; Clay Cross Hospital; Ilkeston Community Hospital; Ripley Hospital; and Whitworth Hospital, Matlock.
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A LittleLoans spokesman said: “It’s been estimated that the NHS rakes in about £272 million a year from car parking charges, in what has been deemed a ‘tax on the sick’.
“Most hospitals in England charge for car parking, although the exact charge is set by the individual NHS trusts, which means, while some are completely free, others charge as much as £4 to park for just one hour.”
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has pledged to end “unfair parking charges”.
Chesterfield Royal Hospital charges £3 for two hours – compared with London’s Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, the country’s most expensive, at £7 for two hours.
Derby’s Royal and London Road hospitals charge £3.20 for two hours, while the cost for two hours’ parking at Sheffield’s Northern General and Royal Hallamshire hospitals is £2.50.
A Chesterfield Royal spokesman said: “All the income received from our parking fees goes towards the hospital’s running costs, which includes the maintenance of the car park and site roadways, security, lighting and grounds maintenance.“We constantly review our car park charges and have a number of different rates from short-stay visits to a 14-day pass.
“By contributing to the maintenance and running of car parking services, this income also serves to protect budgets for patient care and staffing.”
A DHSC spokesman said: “We are bringing an end to unfair car parking charges for patients, their families and our hardworking NHS staff.
“From April this year, blue badge holders, frequent outpatients, parents of sick patients staying overnight and staff working night shifts will no longer pay for parking at hospitals.”