Patients’ parking anger

Parking at Pontefract Hospital
Parking at Pontefract Hospital

ANGRY residents have slammed Pontefract Hospital bosses after it was revealed parking charges for patients will increase from next month.

The cost of parking at the town’s new £60m hospital will go up by 10p for two hours, 20p for up to four hours and 30p for more than four hours.

A one-hour stay will cost £1.30, two hours will cost £2.60, four hours will be £3.90 and a stay of more then four hours and up to 24 hours will cost £6.50.

Balfour Beatty, which built the trust’s new hospitals in Pontefract and Wakefield through a Private Finance Initiative, manages the car parks.

Residents flocked to the Express website and Facebook page to give their views on the decision, which will also affect people visiting Wakefield’s Pinderfields Hospital and Dewsbury and District Hospital.

Sue Howitt-Stead said: “I have to attend Pontefract Hospital on a weekly basis for physiotherapy and it’s bad enough paying the charge now.”

Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper added: “The government is forcing our hospitals to make massive cuts to local services or face being taken over by private companies, but the trust must think about the consequences on hard-pressed families across the Five Towns.”

Myles McQuade, director of facilities and estates at the trust, said: “We have tried to keep the increase to a minimum and our charges are in line with other hospitals across the region.”

The trust said exemptions for blue badge holders would remain in place.

l See page 19 for more reaction from our Facebook page.