A bill to exempt carers from paying hospital car parking charges is being debated in the House of Commons today.
Labour MP Julie Cooper, who introduced the bill, says the charges are an “unfair burden” on carers. She says she has cross-party support, but the government has not yet said whether it will back it.
The exemption would apply to NHS hospitals, walk-in centres, GP practices and private hospitals.
Presently individual hospitals can exempt car-parking charges at their discretion, however this discretion is not being used – hence the need for the Bill to create a duty.
George McNamara, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Unpaid dementia carers prop up our health and social care system. This silent army of husbands, wives, sons and daughters spend 1.3 billion hours a year providing care – saving the state an estimated £11.6 billon. It’s totally unacceptable that they should have to worry about footing excessive hospital car parking charges on top of this. We fully support this bill to exempt carers from these charges.”