PARKING charges at Hereford County Hospital are going up again.

The £3.50 fee for the first hour means visitors will be paying more than they would at many neighbouring hospitals.

And as the parking on site is managed by Wye Valley NHS Trust (WVT)’s private finance initiative (PFI) partners, there is no financial benefit to the cash strapped trust as a result.

The politically-charged issue of parking charges at the hospital has been the subject of a parliamentary debate.

Hereford MP Jesse Norman has called the charges “expensive and unfair” and their imposition “an example of all that is wrong with PFI contracts”.

WVT interim chief executive Derek Smith has expressed “sadness and disappointment” at the increases .

First 10 minutes free

Starting next month, the increases offer 10 minutes for free then go up to £3.50 for an hour, £5 for two hours, £6 for three hours, £7 for four hours, £8 for five hours, £12 for up to nine hours and £15 for 24 hours.

PFI partners will provide extra parking attendants to prevent shoppers and commuters taking up parking spaces for patients and visitors, while WVT is stepping up commitments to a sustainable travel plan offering alternative ways to reach to the hospital for staff, visitors and patients alike.

By comparison:

  • Worcestershire Royal Hospital charges £3 for up to two hours,
  • Bristol’s Frenchay Hospital £2.50 for the first two hours,
  • University Hospital of Wales (Cardiff) £2.20 for up to four hours – though many NHS hospitals in Wales offer free parking,
  • The Princess Royal (Telford) and Royal Shrewsbury Hospital charge £2 for 24 hours.

Recently revised charges at nearby Herefordshire Council car parks range from £1 for an hour rising to £4.70 for over four hours at Bath Street.

  • Free parking near Hereford city centre? See this week's Hereford Times.