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Cancer patients hit with parking fees

By Jane Fazackarley     Sep 7, 2009 in Health
A new survey indicates that over half of the patients being treated for cancer in England do not get free or reduced cost parking fees when they go for hospital treatment. This goes against the governments own guidelines.
The Department of Health has suggested that hospital trusts in England should have a reduced fee structure for patients needing to attend hospital for ongoing treatment.
The charity Macmillan Cancer Support carried out a survey involving 337 patients which found the majority of them did not receive the recommended concessions.
The NHS Confederation has now said it plans to introduce a new charter which will cover hospital parking and that the introduction of fair park charges would be the best way to proceed.
The Macmillan charity have described the way things are now as an ''appalling disjointed mess".
The charges for parking at hospital grounds have long been a source of controversy and the cancer charity have been actively campaigning to get this changed.
Across other areas of the United Kingdom these charges are being stopped but patients living in England still face the additional costs.
According to the poll 59% of cancer patients didn't receive the free or reduced cost parking.
Mike Hobday who is head of policy for the charity told the BBC:
"The entire hospital parking system is an appalling, disjointed mess, which causes cancer patients unnecessary financial hardship and stress.
"When they are in hospital to get life-saving treatment, vulnerable cancer patients are being hit with this extra and unavoidable cost at a time when they should be focusing on their health.
"Frustratingly, even when hospitals have got concessions in place, they are not telling patients about them."
Shehnaz Khan, a cancer patient who lives in Greater London, said to the BBC:
"Going through treatment is tough enough, but when you're worrying about hospital parking charges too it's so stressful."
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