Lochside Garage

Hospital carparks take in £750,000 in two years

The main car park at SWAH

The Western Trust made three quarters of a million pounds in just two years from hospital car parks at the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen and at Altnagelvin in Derry.
Startling figures obtained in a Freedom of Information request reveal that the South West Acute Hospital brought in £76,821 in 2015/16 and £100,952 for the 2016/17 financial year. 
In 2015/16 Altnagelvin Hospital’s car parks brought in £261,980, and £283,382 in the 2016/17 financial year. 
The two hospitals combined pulled in an income of £723,135 over two years, which the Trust says is then fed back in to maintain their car parks, not into frontline patient services. 
The Western Trust board endorsed £3.1m in cuts, imposed by the Department of Health, in October as part of their £31m savings plan across all Trusts in the north. Hundreds of people had attended heated public meetings in September and October to protest at the cuts and voice their concern over the impact on frontline services as well as staff and the ability to deliver services and maintain safety with a smaller budget.
The cuts were agreed at an extraordinary meeting in October where the board announced an increase in car parking charges as one effort to offset some of the cuts. 
However, the Freedom of Information request reveals that the money patients and their loved ones pay to the car park is ‘reinvested back into Trust Services’, namely the management, maintenance and security at the car parks and does not help pay for frontline services or to support any medical procedures.
“The Western Health and Social Care Trust can confirm that all income received from car parking is reinvested into Trust services,” they told the Belfast Telegraph. “This income is used for payback on investment in car parking and to help cover costs in terms of the provision,
management and maintenance of car parking including the associated security costs.
“The Western Health and Social Care Trust retains full management control of car parking on all Trust sites. On the Altnagelvin, Omagh Hospital and Primary Complex and South West Acute sites the Trust has engaged a third party contractor – Car Parking Services (CPS) to support with the implementation of the Trust’s Car Parking Operational Procedures. This contract was awarded following a competitive tendering exercise and was implemented in October 2016 and on the new Omagh Hospital and Primary Care Complex site in July 2017.”

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