THE trust that runs hospitals in Basingstoke, Andover and Winchester is challenging figures released by the NHS which say it raked in more than £1.8m in parking fees last year.

According to NHS figures, Hampshire Hospitals Foundation Trust (HHFT) made an income of £1,826,514 from patient and visitor parking fees both in 2021/22 and 2022/23.

The Gazette put these figures to the trust but was told by a spokesperson that the numbers were incorrect. The trust said they made nearly half this figure in 2021/22.

READ MORE: Hospital car parking fees in England rise by 50 per cent

The spokesperson said: "There is a disparity between the figures submitted to NHS England and we will be liaising with them over the discrepancies.  

“Hampshire Hospitals took £1.35million in income from car parking during 2022/23, and £967,000 in 2021/22.

“We know that these charges can be a source of contention; however, they contribute to the maintenance and repair of car parks over three sites including associated staff and operational costs.

“To ensure fees are determined fairly, we benchmark against other trusts in the region, and for our Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester it is important patients and visitors aren’t competing for spaces with shoppers who might use our parking facilities as a cheaper alternative to those in the city centre.”

The news comes as hospital car parking fees in England have risen by 50 per cent in the last year.

The data was uncovered by the Liberal Democrats who criticised the Government for “failing to deliver” on a manifesto pledge to end unfair hospital car parking charges, the PA News Agency reports.

NHS England’s 2022/23 data shows trusts’ gross income from patients’ and visitors’ parking was £145.8m.

In comparison to the previous year, this was up 50 per cent from £96.7m and around three times the £47.9m from two years prior.

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Liverpool University Hospitals saw the largest percentage increase in income from parking raking in £1.6m in 2021/22. For comparison it made just £26,549 the year before

Other trusts that had an increase include the cancer treatment centre The Royal Marsden Hospital in London, and East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust. The trusts made £210,603 (an increase from £7,916) and made £535,127 (an increase from £26,432) respectively.

Meanwhile, car parking fees paid by hospital staff rose enormously, with it costing them £46.7m in 2022/23 compared to £5.6m in 2021/22.

This is because of parking charges that were scrapped during the pandemic being reintroduced in March last year.