Parking charges at Northampton General Hospital are among the highest in the country, new data has shown.
Figures obtained by the Press Association (PA) reveal that visitors and patients at the town hospital are being charged up to £3.10 an hour to park.
This is the seventh highest figure in the country. The most expensive hospital to park at is the Royal Surrey County Hospital, which charges £4.
Analysis of the data by PA suggests a 15 per cent average rise in parking charges across trusts in England between 2014/15 and 2015/16.
Some trusts allow patients and visitors to park for free for the first 30 minutes before charges kick in.
But others have scrapped a one or two-hour charge, meaning people have to pay a flat fee for three hours even if they are only staying for 45 minutes.
A spokesman for Northampton General Hospital said the revenue gained from hospital parking avoids money being taken out of patient care budgets.
The car park charges are used to help cover the cost of maintenance, CCTV and security, and the hospital’s security team and travel office staff.
The spokesman said: “Our car parking charges are broadly in line with the borough council’s car park costs, in order to discourage shoppers from using spaces at the hospital – which, unlike many hospitals across the country, is on a town centre site.”
Parking charges at hospitals in England
1) Royal Surrey County Hospital £4
2) Hereford County Hospital: £3.50
3) Stockport £3.50
4) Bristol Royal Infirmary £3.40
5) West Suffolk Hospital £3.30
6) Northampton General £3.10
7) Royal Free, London £3
8) Basildon Hospital, Essex £3
9) Whittington Hospital, London (after 5pm) £3
10) St Thomas’ Hospital, London £3