Largest ever poll of over 50s opinion about hospital parking

Tuesday 26 August 2014

Largest ever poll of over 50s opinion about hospital parking

The nation's over 50s are heavy users of the health service and in a Saga poll of 10,080 people aged over 50, two-thirds (67%) said hospitals were wrong to levy parking charges.  Objections were even stronger in Scotland (80%) and Wales (84%).  In addition, 1 in 8 people (12%) said they would cut short hospital visits and 1 in 5 (18%) said they would visit less often because of parking charges.

However, in a sign that love and compassion counts more than money, for those that can afford it, 63% said it would make no difference and so they would just grudgingly stump up the cash - showing that hospitals levying this "visitors tax" really do have people over a barrel.

Paul Green, Saga’s director of communications, commented: "Levying charges on the relatives of the sick makes the nation’s hospitals more lonely and isolated places for many people in need of companionship to aide their recovery.  Hospital parking fees have become a stealth tax on compassion.  Whilst the health secretary has recognised this is an issue - he needs to take the decision out of the army of bean counters in the NHS, and instruct and not just guide them to do the right thing and ban usury parking fees."

Objections to parking charges are across all socio-economic groups - from 64% amongst ABs to 73% of C2DEs. The impact on visits is perhaps not surprisingly most felt by the poor with half of people in the socio-economic category DE saying that parking charges affected their visits to comfort sick friends and relatives and 1 in 50 of this group said that charges means that they would make no visits.


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