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Parking firm Apcoa allowed to profit from above-inflation Northwick Park Hospital charges in Harrow
A parking company can increase charges at a Harrow hospital by above inflation each year as part of its contract to run the car park, it has been revealed.
Apcoa, the private company that runs the car park at Northwick Park Hospital in Watford Road, is allowed to increase charges each year by the Retail Price Index, plus an extra 0.75 per cent for itself, as part of its contract with North West London Hospitals NHS Trust.
At the start of September, charges went up by 3.6 per cent, from £2.20 to £2.30 for one hour’s parking and £5.50 to £5.80 for five hour’s parking – although the firm agreed to waive its extra 0.75 per cent this year after a flurry of complaints.
Campaigners believe that the above-inflation rises unfairly penalise disabled people and those that have to visit the hospital regularly by making them pay each time they park.
Pamela Gershon, an 86-year-old grandmother who has regular blood tests and check-ups for cataracts at the hospital, has handed a 1,500-strong petition to health bosses calling for cheaper parking.
North West London Hospitals NHS Trust, which says the charges stop money being diverted from patient care, expects to receive £541,500 from Acpoa in this financial year, a significant increase on the £425,000 the trust made from parking last year.
It said that it done its best to keep increases “to a minimum”, adding: “We understand that parking charges and increases are unpopular.
“We also appreciate that it can be expensive for some patients and we offer a range of concessions to make it easier for them.
“In addition, we are reviewing the location and number of disabled parking spaces following feedback from patients and their visitors.
“For example, patients have said some disabled spaces are not near enough to accident and emergency and outpatient areas, which causes them difficulties.”
It added that had introduced a new three-day discounted pass for regular visitors, in addition to the five and seven-day passes it already provides, and that some people were entitled to get travel costs refunded.
The Harrow Times is waiting for a response from Apcoa.