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Abolish Car Parking Charges at Welsh Hospitals, says BMA Cymru Wales

Doctors leaders in Wales are calling on the National Assembly for Wales to abolish car parking charges at hospitals throughout Wales and release// patients from a heavy financial burden.

Welsh Secretary of the BMA, Dr Richard Lewis said: "Charging people to park at hospitals is an indirect tax on healthcare. These days, the vast majority of people who attend hospital clinics do so by car. Often, these people have to attend several times during treatment and the costs mount up. It's iniquitous that they have to pay to access hospital care.

"Public transport is often inconvenient and troublesome to patients with mobility problems. NHS trusts are making thousands of pounds a year by charging patients and visitors to park. This stealth tax is immoral and reprehensible."

At least a quarter of Welsh hospital trusts are drawing a six-figure income from parking charges.

NHS trusts, many of which have contracted out management of parking to private companies, have been slammed for introducing "stealth taxes" on patients.

"For visitors, or anyone going to hospital, the last thing you want to be doing is worrying whether you have money in your purse to put in the meter."

Chairman of the BMA's Welsh Council, Dr Tony Calland said: "Welsh hospital car parking charges are a tax on the sickest patients and their relatives. The most ill section of the population has to visit hospital more frequently than those who are healthier and it is often these very ill people who, because of their illness, are the least able to pay the substantial car parking charges. Wales should stop this tax on the sick!

"The founding principle of the NHS was that healthcare should be free at the point of delivery. Is it right that a Welsh government should preside over a system that profits from patients and visitors driving to their local NHS trust to access healthcare or visit sick relatives. It is taxing the sick b
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