FIGURES last week revealed NHS trusts in the North-East and North Yorkshire made £12.2m from hospital car parking charges in the last financial year. The Press Association investigation showed that NHS hospitals nationally made a record £174m, up six per cent on the year before – sparking a flood of comments on The Northern Echo's website and Facebook page. Here are a selection of the views.

Gilly Lou

I DON'T object as such. Should be a lower price but I'd rather see free parking for staff. Absurd that they have to pay. Would be useful if you could park in (Darlington) Memorial as well. Very rarely any joy parking in there.

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Pam Cook

WE can never find a space (at Darlington), so have to park outside the hospital, they should have built a multi-storey carpark

Georgia Fuller

SHOULD do what Teesside have done and have a £2 all day car park. I got a parking ticket at Sunderland when I drove myself to A&E... like I was going to park up and start looking for pay and display machines mid asthma attack.

Situerte Mogen

IT stops people parking there for town access – it's a double-edged sword. Also, let the hospitals raise money however they want. £174m is a drop in the ocean – this is the nation-wide figure for hospital parking fees, still only a small amount compared to the shortfall in funding and cuts our hospitals have dealt with the past few years.

Lady Diane Williams

IT'S not the hospitals 'raking it in' – they are mostly owned by private companies.

Jean Lamb

DISGUSTING! At least Dick Turpin wore a mask.

Patsy Husband

I DON’T mind paying the price if I could park without driving round and round multiple times to park. I think (a multi) storey car park would benefit or staff bus to ease spaces.

Christine Watson

IT must be difficult for financially challenged people. Visiting relatives can get very expensive.

Joanne Hardman

OUR son is receiving treatment at the RVI – we have been lucky to get a discount on parking but it’s very expensive and not something you should have to worry about.

Jacquie Llewxuah

HOW about paying to park outside your own home because the council have impose permits to stop hospital staff from parking on the streets!

Jodie Oates

THEY would make even more if there was an adequate amount of parking at Darlington Memorial Hospital. Very seldom get a space.

Nichola Charlton Mcweeney

I WOULDN'T mind if you could actually get a parking space. Needs a multi storey (at Darlington).

Amy Murray

SHOULD be free. Staff should definitely not have to pay to park.

Dub Bri

WHEN the government announce cuts in funding, they prattle on about 'getting rid of waste, too many managers' etc. Because we don't see hospitals closing (although they're on their way to running down Darlington, ready for closure), many folk believe them. This is just another example. You can have an NHS or you can have a Conservative government, you can't have both.

Claire Smyth

ROBBING from the sick to fund a failing NHS. Why don't the government take a wage cut or give up their expenses to pay for the deficit?

Gillian Parkin

(I WOULD) rather it went to the hospital than the council, only sorry that they are in such a position to have to do this.

June Brown

I THINK it's ridiculous to have to pay a) to go to the hospital for an appointment, b) relatives/friends have to pay to visit a sick person and c) that staff have to pay. On one occasion on a visit I could not get parked for an appointment, and someone told me the staff parked in the visitors' car park. Well that is not right in itself, there should be parking for staff elsewhere.

Maria Stella Cooper

I DON’T think staff should have to pay and also as a nursing student I don’t think we should have to pay either. One of my placements cost me £16 for the week to park. I don’t get a wage and this really caused an issue financially.

Jean West

AS far as University Hospital of North Durham is concerned I don't know why they don't let the Sniperley park and ride run until visiting times are over. Charge a flat rate per passenger, one bus load at a time getting dropped off instead of cars playing whacky races looking for spaces. Cars driven by very emotional frantic people who are visiting loved ones is in itself an accident waiting to happen.

Christine Cole

THIS is going on nation-wide. Unfortunately there is a serious shortfall in funds. Also in this day and age everyone uses a car, so a lot of valuable land is needed to park all the cars.

Anthony Hawes

IT should be capped at £2 all day, staff and nurses etc should be free for them and they should let you pay when you leave because if it's an emergency the last thing you want to do is run around finding a ticket machine.

Steve Crown

I WORK at a university, they charge me £22 a month for a non guaranteed parking space.

Sue Pearson

NO-ONE should have to pay as a patient staff or a visitor.

Mike Wells

STAFF car parks should be free for staff, public parking if paid for would not be an issue if the revenue gained were to go towards better staffing or wages. As it is it disappears into the gravy boat so people are bound to object and quite rightly.

Beverlea Yellin

IT'S disgusting that even the disabled have to pay and that's if you can even find a parking space!

Rachy Dickens

NHS grounds – NHS should get the money to put towards shortages at the hospital, like the town parking should go to the town funding. It might bring our taxes down.

Mary Hill

IT'S disgusting they even make blue badge holders pay. If that's not greed I don't know what is.

Madadrian

IT costs £2.50 for two hours at (Darlington) Memorial. I have had to give up driving and with limited mobility I need to use a taxi to get to the hospital for my eight days a month treatment. If I used my own car it would cost £30 a month. Using taxis costs me £64 a month. The car park charges are quite reasonable. When parking was free the hospital car parks were full of commuters. Pay for parking is the only way to deter them.

Bobbs

UNFORTUNATELY, there has to be controls on parking at such facilities. Otherwise anyone would park where they like, even when they weren't using the hospital. I work in the parking industry as an engineer, and hospitals that I have seen all over the UK, none of them have enough parking, whether large or small. If we get driverless cars, no one will own a car, and the problem would be partially solved.

Voice-of-reality

IT is not a core responsibility of the NHS to provide parking spaces. If people choose to use hospital car parks they should expect to pay for them. That the money raised can go into care – rather than the pockets of a private company – could be seen as an added bonus. Of course, I would rather that the hospitals sold their car parks for private development and concentrated on their core purpose rather than diverting energy to secondary concerns.

Nige Boddy

WHILST some parking charges are necessary to prevent commuters going elsewhere using them, and unscrupulous used car dealers selling cars from them, I am amazed at the level of charges levied at James Cook. Does the position of that particular hospital really require them to be so high?