Posted on 14/12/2012

Disabled Hospital Parking Charges - Are They Fair?


Are disabled hospital parking charges fair?

The BBC radio show, 5 Live Investigates, opened up an interesting debate about hospital car parking charges for the disabled, with their programme broadcast on Sunday 9th December.

Their investigators found that 37 of the 117 NHS trusts that they asked charged disabled patients the same parking charges as other hospital patients, with many claiming that this was a fair and equal way of treating everyone. However, according to a leading disability rights lawyer, Chris Fry, insisting on this level of equality may in fact turn out to be the exact opposite, leading to a form of discrimination against the disabled.

He argues that disabled people may not have the same access to public transport, and so have no choice but to drive to their appointments and to use the hospital car parks. What’s more, they will probably need to park for longer, since they have mobility issues, meaning that they pay higher charges than other car park users for a similar appointment.

“Inevitably it will cost someone more to park if they are disabled and that is clearly wrong,” explained Chris. “And treating someone differently because of their disability is a breach of the Equality Act.”

And it would appear that the Department of Health back this view, with a spokesman stating that parking concessions were a fundamental right for patients who have to attend hospital often or for long periods.

A test case, brought against Medway NHS Foundation Trust, could soon settle the matter in the courts, however, in the meantime, a visit to the NRS website could help cut those parking charges. Our wide range of mobility aids, such as wheelchairs and scooters, can make getting around much easier and quicker, reducing the length of time you have to park and the charges you have to pay.

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