"I was seen relatively promptly ..."

About: Solihull Hospital

(as the patient),

What I liked

I was seen relatively promptly by the Consultant.

What could be improved

My main complaint, and the reason for posting this feedback is the ridiculous system of cash only for car parking.

I was running late due to helping out a neighbour who had been taken ill, so didn't have time to get any cash. I assumed that there would be either a method of payment by card, or a cashpoint machine, but neither is available.

I had to walk to the nearest cashpoint machine which is on Old Lode Lane.

Fortunately, I am able bodied to do this, but what if I hadn't been fit enough to walk this distance?

Anything else?

Being charged to park is a tax on being ill, but then not to provide alternative methods of payment is absurd.

There should also be a fixed charge for parking, so that delays in being treated should not actually cost more.

Story from NHS Choices

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Response from Solihull Hospital

We are sorry to learn that you had experienced difficulty in paying for parking at Solihull Hospital. Unfortunately the lower volumes of activity at Solihull preclude the installation and operation of cashless payment systems and automated teller machines, although these facilities are available at our other two hospitals.

There is a commonly-held misconception that the provision of parking is virtually cost-free. In reality the Trust incurs significant expenditure in providing, operating and maintaining car parks. We do not receive any funding specifically for this purpose and do not believe that resources intended for the provision of healthcare should be diverted to subsidise parking. The total cost of providing car parking across the Trust in 2008/09 was over £3.8M.

Our parking tariffs are in line with other acute NHS Trusts in the West Midlands and are aimed at providing an income to cover the cost of providing parking. Our parking charges and regeime are fully compliant with the most recent guidance from the Department of Health. In order to recoup the same contribution to costs, a single charge system would need to be around £3.50, which we feel would not prove acceptable to the majority of our patients and visitors.

Where patients are unreasonably delayed, we provide a car park exit for the minimum fee, currently £2.00. To secure this we ask patients to request the clinic lets the parking office have names if there is an unavoidable delay. Patients will then be allowed to exit for the minimum charge (£2.00).

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