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The number of NHS sites charging patients even though they have a blue badge has risen by almost a fifth in just three years.
An investigation into hospital parking for disabled patients has found that the NHS hospitals is increasingly forcing disabled patients to pay for parking, with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London becoming the latest to plan such charges, prompting fury from elected patient governors.
Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation trust said the fees, which will be capped at £3 a day, would be invested in frontline services and extra parking for disabled patients. The trust currently charges up to £33 a day for other patients to park.
The Labour Party has urged ministers to step in to axe the charges, while disability campaigners have argued that the changes could force some of the most vulnerable in society to end up losing access to care because they could not afford it, blasting a ‘complete lack of compassion’.
NHS Digital statistics highlight that 155 hospital sites charged disabled patients and visitors for parking in 2017/18, an increase from right 139 sites charging the year before. NHS hospitals made £226 million from parking charges for all patients, visitors, and staff, the figures show.