Disabled drivers will now have to pay for parking at both Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble Hospitals as part of new changes.
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has announced changes to its public car parking charges which includes Blue Badge holders now being charged.
Effective from July 1, the changes see a current flat rate replaced with a sliding scale of charges, so that the amount charged reflects the time spent in the carpark.
The Trust says the new charging system is similar to other hospitals in the region, and will apply to both Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble Hospitals.
Parking for Blue Badge holders is currently free and the new charges range from free for 30 minutes parking up to £10 for more than eight hours.
Carol Spencer, Strategy Director at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “The cost of maintaining and managing our car parks rises every year, however the charges haven’t increased since 2012.
“We appreciate that not everyone agrees that hospitals should charge for car parking, however we believe that the cost of providing safe and secure car parks should not be taken from budgets intended for patient care and treatment.
“The money we recoup from the charges will be used to maintain and improve the car parks, including improved security and carpark management system. The additional income will enable us to plan better facilities for the future. Any surplus will be reinvested in patient care.”
Concessions are available for a number of patient and carer groups, so that people who attend hospital frequently or have a long stay in hospital aren’t financially disadvantaged.
Mobility benefits include a component for travel and transport, and disabled drivers in receipt of welfare benefits may be eligible to claim back the cost of hospital parking from the Healthcare Travel Cost Scheme.