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£1.3m racked up from hospital carpark charges

SDLP councillor Paul Blake believes that the charges for hospital car parking at the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen are ‘shocking’.
He describes the car parking charges as, ‘a tax on the vulnerable in society’.
New figures have  re-ignited the debate on hospital car parking charges.
Mr Blake’s comments were made following the news that the health trusts across the North had raked in almost £13 million from hospital car parking charges in the last three years.
He pointed out that it was often the sick and the elderly who suffered most from these charges.
“There is ample car parking space there, but it is these people, along with staff, that find it the toughest. Relatives visiting a patient for a couple of days or somebody going to outpatients clinics are the worst hit,” he declared, adding that many staff also find it difficult to find a parking space.”
In figures releases this week four trusts supplied details of how much health service staff paid for parking, a combined total of £2,495,208 in the three years.
The Western Trust did not record this. However, it did say that it operated paid for parking on three of its hospital sites, including the South West Acute. 
The Western Trust which governs the SWAH brought in £1,316,232 from the 1,160 spaces on these sites in the three years, but does not record whether staff are charged for parking. 
“All car parking income received by the  Trust is used to fund the provision, maintenance and management of car parking on three hospital sites,” it said.
Councillor Debbie Coyle is also opposed to parking charges at the hospital.
“I’ve listened to the argument as to why they need to have charges, but to be honest you go up there during the day and you will find it very difficult to find a space,” she explained.
She feels that you shouldn’t have to pay, especially if you are in the accident and emergency department or visiting someone who is very ill.
“The car parking still hasn’t solved the question of parking at the hospital. Patients and staff are still struggling to find car parking spaces during the day and cars are still having to park on the side of the road.
 
 
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