Patients and visitors of Poole Hospital are said to be “annoyed” over the recent increases to the price of using the hospital’s multi-storey carpark.

The new parking costs, which recently increased by 10 per cent or more, came into effect at the beginning of this month, hitting patients, visitors and staff who use the multi-storey car park.

According to a representative of Poole Hospital, “The money raised through parking charges is offset against the cost of operating the car park, including staffing, maintenance and security. Any additional revenue is reinvested in the hospital to support patient care”.

Dr Julia Reid MEP, who still currently represents the South West Counties & Gibraltar, has described hospital parking charges as a “stealth tax on the sick and the vulnerable”.

“Unfortunately, Poole Hospital is not alone in increasing its hospital parking costs. As reported by the BBC towards the end of last year, more than four in ten NHS hospitals increased their prices for car parking in 2017/18, with some trusts even doubling the cost of a certain stay for patients and visitors during that particular period.

“The founding principle of the NHS is that the services are free for everyone across the country and should be based on clinical need and not ability to pay. However, unlike the Scotland and Wales, who scrapped hospital parking charges over a decade ago, patients in England are still paying increasingly extortionate hospital parking charges in order to access treatment, leaving many patients out-of-pocket.”