Shock at plans for hospital parking charges

Buckingham Hospital car park
Buckingham Hospital car park

Staff and patients could soon be hit with parking charges at a community hospital.

Buckingham Community Hospital currently allows all visitors and staff to park for free.

But plans are afoot to bring in pay and display machines, in line with other hospitals run by Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust, and worried staff believe they could be charged up to £30 a month.

Buckingham Community Hospital has a rehabilitation ward with 16 beds for patients following treatment or surgery at one of the acute hospitals.

It also operates about 25 different outpatient clinics, including antenatal and baby clinics, diabetes, urology and X-ray.

Chairman of the League of Friends of Buckingham Hospital, John Wrigley, said he was aware of the plans, and the league had discussed them briefly at a recent group meeting.

Mr Wrigley said he believes the plan is to increase parking charges which are already in place at the general hospitals and to introduce parking charges at the community hospitals, a move which would affect all those visiting the site.

Parking charges at Stoke Mandeville Hospital are currently £4.50 for up to three hours or £6 for eight hours.

And it is thought the charges would also apply to district nurses and health visitors who need their cars to visit people in their own homes.

Buckingham Town Council had not been informed of the plans, which will be discussed at the NHS trust’s board meeting on February 25.

And residents will be unable to share their views on the changes because the meeting is being held in private.

Staff at the hospital have been asked to take part in a consultation on the scheme.

Mayor of Buckingham Lisa O’Donoghue called the plan “really disappointing”.

She said: “How can they expect staff to pay to go to work? That just doesn’t make sense.”

County councillor Warren Whyte said: “I’d be disappointed because it might put pressure on on-street parking.” A spokesman for Bucks Healthcare NHS Trust said: “We have been considering a range of options in relation to car parking at all of our hospital sites. Over recent months we have been talking to our staff to understand what is important to them. No decisions have been made.”