STAFF at Wye Valley NHS Trust are forking out almost £150,000 a year to park at work.

Patients and visitors are shelling out another £60,000.

The car parks at Hereford County Hospital are managed through the trust’s PFI (private finance initiative) contract – so the trust does not have direct control or set the price.

But it says it has negotiated a freeze on car park charges for the last three years, and it runs a concessions programme for visitors and patients.

"The trust is aware of the pressure on parking spaces at the Hereford County Hospital site and has sympathy with patients, visitors, and its staff," said a statement.

It says 20 more public parking spaces following a building project last year and is working with the council to provide more parking spaces and better facilities, including electric charge points.

The trust’s PFI contract ends in 10 years.

But it has also warned that the hospital is in a city-centre location, and "removing parking charges altogether would result in shoppers taking advantage of free parking – which would mean patients and visitors struggling to find a parking space".

A new NHS statistical report shows nationally that income from car parking charges far outweighs the costs of providing it.

Apart from government money, car parking charges are the biggest single income stream for the NHS nationally, bringing in around £272m a year

Of that £185m is from visitors and patients, and £86m from staff.

That compares with a cost of £71m a year for providing the service.