Hospital charges: fair and sensible

PUBLISHED: 09:00 21 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:32 10 June 2010

In response to your readers letters (Journal, February 12) claiming that my statement on parking charges overlooks the projected annual income raised, the purpose of the charges is to help manage the use of the 70 parking spaces so that people who need t

In response to your readers' letters (Journal, February 12) claiming that my statement on parking charges overlooks the projected annual income raised, the purpose of the charges is to help manage the use of the 70 parking spaces so that people who need to visit the hospital by car can find somewhere to park.Visitors will have the option of paying for one hour. Prices would reflect local charges, currently 85p for the first hour. Nobody will be compelled to pay for more than one hour at a time. We need to recover the cost of maintaining and managing the car park. After a small proportion is used to cover the costs of enforcing the charges, the revenue will be reinvested in the local NHS. We need to encourage people to look at alternative ways of travelling to hospital as part of the national NHS initiative to cut carbon. Travel makes up 18 per cent of the NHS carbon footprint and, to help reduce this, the PCT is developing travel plans for all PCT service areas across the county. The plans will include measures to encourage people to use alternatives to get to and from our community hospitals.The system will also enable people who need to drive to have a good prospect of being able to park there. Currently, it is uncertain when they arrive that a parking space would be available.So far from penalising patients, we are introducing a system which is fair and sensible. People receiving benefits and frequent attenders can apply for help with travel costs, including parking.Dave Rollason,Facilities Manager, Devon Primary Care Trust.

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