Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/614/8956
Walsgrave hospital Coventry: Stop the parking charges rip-off
A RECENT Socialist Party organised meeting in Coventry protested at rip-off car parking charges at Walsgrave Hospital. A private company made £2.7 million last year from charging staff, visitors and patients to park at the out of town site.
Clive Dunkley, Coventry Socialist Party
Coventry Socialist Party's campaign against charges got wide media coverage after over 4,500 people joined a Facebook group set up as part of the campaign.
Socialist Party members have collected over 3,000 signatures since the New Year against the exorbitant charges. The public protest meeting coincided with the end of the national consultation initiated by the Department of Health on parking charges at hospitals.
Socialist Party (SP) councillor Dave Nellist told the meeting there were many ways that the government could fund the abolition of parking charges. "The Royal Bank of Scotland, which taxpayers bailed out, has announced that senior executives would get £1.3 billion in bonuses this year. That would pay for free hospital car parking for every Coventry family for the next 550 years!"
Sinead Nolan-Burgess told a shocked audience that she had to pay for parking at Walsgrave while her fiancé lay dying in hospital last year. She said: "Private companies made over £100 from my fiancé's misfortune. We already pay taxes and are entitled to free health care. So why on earth are hospitals signing contracts which allow private companies to charge us what they want?"
SP councillor Rob Windsor told the meeting that this event marks the start of a wider campaign against the creeping privatisation of our NHS. Rob urged those present to get involved with the NHS SOS campaign in the city.
BBC Midlands Today covered the meeting. Unfortunately it failed to show Socialist councillors explaining the reason for charges at Walsgrave, namely the Private Finance Initiative (PFI). Instead they interviewed local Labour and Tory politicians who had been right behind the PFI scheme in the first place!
Socialist Party members will step up the campaign to expose the Profit From Illness (PFI) taking place in the city's health service.
In The Socialist 3 March 2010:
Youth fight for jobs
International socialist news and analysis
Socialist Party news and analysis
Socialist Party workplace news
The Socialist Interview
Socialist Party women
Socialist Party feature