Solihull Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt has praised local NHS bosses in the House of Commons for taking steps to reduce car parking charges at Solihull Hospital.
Heart of England Foundation Trust is responsible for Solihull Hospital as well as Good Hope and Heartlands hospitals in Birmingham.
Mrs Burt recommended the trust’s new scheme as a model for other foundation trusts, telling the Speaker of the House that, “There are compassionate ways of treating families who need to make regular and sometimes long visits to hospital.”
The MP’s intervention came during a parliamentary debate on rising car parking charges at hospitals across the UK.
Mrs Burt has been lobbying the foundation trust since last year when it hiked charges to pay for expanding car parks at Good Hope and Heartlands.
After exchanging a series of letters with Mrs Burt, trust chief executive Dr Mark Newbold wrote to her about a new scheme allowing regular users to buy 20 all-day permits for £10.
Mrs Burt said, “Residents are understandably upset about a big rise in car parking charges at Solihull Hospital.
“We need to stop people using free parking at the hospital for other purposes. However, residents will be concerned that they are paying higher charges at their local hospital to fund extra parking spaces elsewhere and one-off visits are still very expensive.
“Despite these misgivings the hospital’s scheme will make a big difference to regular users and that is very welcome.”
Dr Newbold said, “Traditionally we have provided free parking for patients attending for chemotherapy, but many people with other health conditions have asked me why they cannot benefit too. I agree with them, and we think the 50p per visit charge for all patients who need to make multiple visits to hospital is a much fairer system.”