HAMPSHIRE Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is re-introducing free parking for patients and visitors eligible for concessionary rates.

The trust, which runs hospitals in Andover, Basingstoke and Winchester, benchmarked its own concessionary schemes against other trusts, and found that the majority charge at reduced rates for the majority of users.

However, recognising the concerns of the Cancer Services Partnership, and other patient groups, and having taken hospital car park users views into consideration, the trust’s decision has been made to re-introduce free parking to those eligible for concessionary rates.

Alex Whitfield, chief executive of Hampshire Hospitals said: “I know people feel very strongly about parking charges when they attend hospital and even the concessionary rates we were charging were challenging for some patients.

“Because we take feedback from our users very seriously, we have reviewed our charges, and made the decision to offer free parking to those users who had previously been charged reduced rates.”

Adding: “Our parking charges go directly into helping us fund patient care, and we know that other hospitals do charge concessionary rates, but we feel this is the right decision for us and our patients.”

Those who were previously receiving concessionary rates and are eligible for free parking include patients attending chemotherapy, carers staying overnight with children, and visitors to patients being cared for in intensive care or the neonatal unit.