Should ParkingEye be allowed to operate in NHS car parks?

I received an interesting commment from Patsie Jarman, a reader of this site. Feel free to comment using the comments facility below…

The Burton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust uses ParkingEye in the car parks of the trust’s 3 hospitals [The Queen’s Hospital, Burton upon Trent; the Sir Robert Peel Community Hospital, Tamworth, and the Samuel Johnson Hospital, Lichfield].

ParkingEye says that by entering the hospital car park, a contract has been made with them, which results in a parking charge of £70 if time is over-stayed. When patients or service users feel that PE have been unfair, which is far too many times to quote here, the hospital administration insist that PE is informed of the full circumstances, so that they can be investigate by PE. Why should anyone give confidential details of their hospital visit to PE? Is patient confidentiality now a thing of the past.

Having read the The NHS Constitution for England 26 March 2013 – the National Health Service belongs to us all, I can find no reference within it where the NHS requires Patients, or persons entitled to use its services, to enter into contracts with outside contractors, or organisations.

On page 3, ‘1. Principles that guide the NHS’ we are told, at paragraph 2, that ‘Access to NHS services is based on clinical need, not an individual’s ability to pay. NHS services are free of charge . . .’

So if there is clinical need such as taking a sick or injured person to hospital in a private car, is part of that clini-cal need the use of the car park? And are the services of the car park more or less the same as the clinical need for using the hospital catering service, and possibly also using the chaplaincy services provided there?

I would be interested to hear comments on these points.