FIGURES released by health bosses reveal hospital car parks have raked in more than £1.4m from staff and visitors in the space of a year.
North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust runs the University Hospital of Hartlepool and the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, and over the course of 12 months the two sites brought in £650,952 from staff parking and £835,791 from visitors.
The information, from 2011-12, will be presented to Hartlepool Borough Council’s audit and governance committee, which also asked for a floor plan of the Holdforth Road site.
That will also be discussed next week by the committee, chaired by independent councillor Keith Fisher. Current car parking charges for the two hospital sites are: free for the first 15 minutes, up to two hours is £3, two to four hours is £3.30 and over four hours is £4.
Officials say car parking charges for all patients are supported by a range of discretionary arrangements available to limit the cost.
A weekly pass is £15 and a monthly pass £25.
Patients needing cancer treatment are able to park for free by requesting this through the ward or department they visit. Patients who are in receipt of certain benefits are also entitled to reclaim the costs of their hospital travel including car park charges.
While the trust car parks brought in more than £1.4m, expenditure on security, maintenance and upkeep on the car parks and inter-site shuttle for staff and visitors cost £670,828.
A trust report said: “While we are reluctant to pass any financial burden on to our patients, visitors or staff, we do have £40m to save from efficiencies and other schemes, and naturally we want to preserve front line services and jobs as far as possible.
“With savings of this magnitude to achieve, we are faced with stark choices.
“Given the situation and the options and support outlined above, we believe that these arrangements represent an acceptable compromise between the need to meet our efficiency targets and to ensure that the financial inconvenience to the public and our staff is not excessive.”
The audit and governance is due to meet at the Civic Centre, on Thursday, February 20, at 2pm.