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Sussex hospitals’ car parking brings in £3.8 million in a year
Hospitals raked in £3.8 million in car parking charges in one year.
Figures obtained by The Argus reveal Sussex's three main hospital trusts are generating millions from patients, visitors and staff.
Patient groups have criticised the amounts earned and are calling for parking charges at hospitals to be scrapped.
However, trust bosses say charges are needed to maintain and secure spaces and stop them being used as a car park by people working or visiting town centres.
They say patients with long-term conditions such as cancer or kidney failure, who need to visit often, are allowed to park for free.
Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust earned £1.1m between April 2012 and the end of March.
Spaces are particularly at a premium at the Royal Sussex, which is planning to increase the number of places available as part of a planned £420 million redevelopment.
The trust currently charges visitors between £1.80 for two hours to a maximum of £17 for 12 to 24 hours.
A trust spokesman said the money had been reinvested in car parking facilities and security arrangements.
Concessions are also available for those who have to stay in hospital for a long time.
Western Sussex Hospitals NHS Trust, which charges between £1.60 and £7.60, earned £1.5million.
Facilities manager Mitch Thomas said: “We do try to keep the costs as low as possible, and in line with other comparable charges in the local area.
“Our charges haven’t gone up for almost three years now.
“The income is reinvested into parking and security services, with any surplus being used to improve patient services across the trust.”
East Sussex Healthcare generated £1.2 million, with visitors asked to pay between £1.50 and £14.90.
A spokesman for the Patient Action Group in Sussex said: “I don't think people should have to pay when they use the hospital.
“It isn't as if many are there by choice.”
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