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Posted on 24 May 2011 at 10:43 GMT

Cuts in hospital parking charges as result of Coventry campaign

Bosses at Coventry and Warwickshire University Hospitals NHS Trust have today announced cuts from 1st July in some of the charges for car parking at Walsgrave hospital.

This partial U-turn by the hospital is a result of the mass campaign of thousands of local people organised by the Socialist Party on the street and online, led by Socialist Party councillor Dave Nellist.

But the parking charge cuts proposed are not enough and the campaign will go on.

Former Socialist Party councillor Rob Windsor explained:

"We welcome the proposal for 30 minutes free parking at Walsgrave - but it's not sufficient, especially at busy times, to pick up a patient you have to meet.

"Nor is it long enough to go for a blood test, an outpatient appointment or to visit a relative. Those three things are probably what a large number of people go to Walsgrave for - any of which could easily take over an hour.

"For that slot - one to two hours - there is only a derisory 20p cut in the parking charges from 3 to 2.80.

"This announcement again shows the secrecy in which decisions at the Walsgrave hospital business are being taken. Hospital bosses made a secret decision last year to extend the private car parks contract without properly consulting local people; now they've taken this secret decision to inadequately reduce charges, again without properly consulting local people.

"We challenge the hospital bosses to a public debate about how they run our hospital.

"When I was last on the council I asked the then Chair of one of the council's scrutiny boards to look into parking at Walsgrave in greater detail. The subsequent investigation revealed that most of the car parking cash went to pay the hospital's PFI mortgage! This proves to us that you can't build hospitals on the basis of PFI, which should stand for "Profits from Illness.

"The car parking charges should go and the PFI scheme as well. We need hospitals built straightforwardly with public money, not with expensive 30 year PFI mortgages".

Walsgrave hospital is thought to be on the point of putting in a planning application for an extra hospital entrance and further car parks. The reductions in car parking charges could be an attempt by the hospital to create a favourable atmosphere before the planning application is considered.

Coventry Socialist Party believes car parking at the hospital and bus travel to and from the hospital should both be free - otherwise they are a tax on the sick.

Our campaign goes on.

Coventry Socialist Party

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