New parking charges at Preston and Chorley hospitals will be brought in from December 21, it has been revealed.
Lancashire Teaching Hospitals trust is installing new ANPR number plate technology at the entrance to its car parks, to do away with the old ticketing system.
The change also means that some patients – such as cancer patients, dialysis patients and the parents and carers of some child patients – who has previously qualified for free parking will now have to pay.
Although the Trust has said that more people will qualify for discounted parking.
The first 30 minutes of parking is free - to allow for people picking up and dropping off patients - and the minimum charge for parking is £2.50 for less than one hour, and people who qualify for a discount will also pay £2.50 regardless of how long they stay.
A private firm, ParkingEye Ltd, has been appointed to deal with enforcement action over parking.
Paul Havey, Deputy Chief Executive and Finance Director at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The introduction of the ANPR technology brings our car park infrastructure and management system up to the standards that many drivers have come to expect from modern-day car parks.
“The new ‘pay on foot’ approach and additional payment methods makes things far more convenient for visitors.
“Our current barrier and payment system is very dated and more of a hindrance than useful. We have continually received complaints from visitors and staff over the years about delays at the car park barriers when entering and exiting and the knock-on effect this has on the surrounding roads on our sites.”
Patients and visitors will also now be able to pay for their parking online if they pay by midnight on the day of their visit.