NHS parking fees for thousands of disabled patients, visitors and staff working overnight will be abolished from April 2020, the health secretary will outline today.
First trailed in the Conservative manifesto, the policy will apply to blue badge holders and patients who most regularly attend appointments for long-term conditions.
All hospital trusts in England will also be expected to provide free parking to the parents of sick children staying in hospital overnight and staff who are working night shifts.
It comes after a survey earlier this month highlighted that one in three hospitals in England had put up the cost of parking last year, with hospitals making more than £254m from parking in 2018-19 – up 10 per cent on the previous year.
Downing Street said extra money would be made available to offset the funds lost by hospital trusts as a result of the measures, but was unable to put a figure on the total cost.
As it stands, NHS trusts manage their own car parking arrangements and are expected to reinvest the profits into frontline care. A government source also made clear the changes will apply to hospitals who outsource their parking to private contractors.