NHS hospitals made a record £174m in the last year from charging patients, visitors and staff for car parking, it can be revealed.
Hospitals across England took £174,526,970 in parking charges in 2016/17, a 6 per cent rise compared with the previous year, the new figures show.
In 2015/16, £164m was raised.
It comes after an investigation by the YEP last month revealed the shocking number of visitors slapped with fines for parking at hospitals in Yorkshire. As previously reported, at least 75,000 people were hit with penalty notices by NHS trusts in the region from 2012 to March this year.
While NHS trusts in England continue to charge patients, visitors and staff for parking, hospital parking in Scotland and Wales remains largely free.
But the latest figures revealed that half, some 56, of NHS trusts charge disabled people for parking in some or all of their disabled spaces.
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, which collected £3.7m, was among a series of trusts making more than £3m a year from parking charges for 2016/17. The new data also shows the cost of parking for one hour at England’s NHS hospital trusts.
The most expensive trust in the country for a one-hour stay is the Royal Surrey County Hospital in Guildford, where patients pay £4 if they need to stay for an hour. But Leeds’s St James’s Hospital site ranked in the top 16 among all NHS trusts.
While the trust technically charges visitors £2.90 for a two-hour stay in the hospital car park - there is no one-hour option. It is the most expensive short stay NHS hospital car park in all of Yorkshire, according to the data.
A spokesperson for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust said that the trust does not believe that the funding it receives for patients’s care should subsidise the cost of providing and maintaining car parks, but added that some patients and visitors are entitled to exemptions.
The YEP last month revealed the number of patients, visitors and staff who were fined for parking at hospital sites.
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust collected £171,000 in 2016, after penalising more than 10,000 people for parking at its sites contrary to its regulations, according to data obtained by the YEP. The figure was more than double the previous financial year.
Trust bosses said the increased figure is a result of boosting its success rate of recovering parking fines.