08:00AM, Friday 01 July 2016
A ‘ridiculous' hike in hospital car parking charges has seen the cost double for some visitors.
Minimum car parking charges at Wexham Park Hospital, Slough, and Heatherwood Hospital, Ascot, were increased on Friday, June 24.
A spokesman for the Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, which runs both hospitals, said the changes were made to bring its Berkshire hospitals ‘into line’ with their sister hospital, Frimley Park, near Camberley, Surrey.
He added that these changes have been displayed on car park pay stations.
The price for one hour was £1.50 but now there is no option of paying for just one hour.
Instead, the first 20 minutes of parking are free but after this there is a minimum £3 charge for up to two hours of parking. Other rates have increased by 50p.
A seven-day pass was recently introduced which costs £15.
For one Langley family, the increase has meant a double in their spending.
Alka Rajpu, 51, has been visiting her 76-year-old mother at Wexham Park at least five days a week for the past two weeks.
She was paying £7.50 a week, she said, but now it will cost her £15 a week.
Her three siblings also visit their mother nearly every day and have been disappointed at the increase.
When Alka complained to the trust and was told about the weekly pass, she said this would not save her family money unless they could share it between the four of them.
“I think it is ridiculous,” she said.
“My mum does not like the hospital food so someone visits her a few times a day [to take her meals] and we think she could be in there for a few more weeks.
“I can understand what they are trying to do but, for us as a family, it does make a difference.”
The parking price hike comes at the same time the trust is increasing the number of parking spaces at Wexham Park.
It has spent £2m to create an extra 450 extra places.
The majority of the work is now completed, with 80 additional spaces due to open next week.
Drivers are being warned to expect severe delays following the earlier closure of the M25 in both directions between Heathrow and the M4 exit.