French-owned parking firm hits NHS patients in UK with higher charges than at hospitals in France

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EXCLUSIVE: Indigo Park Services rakes in up to £2.90 an hour at the car parks it runs for UK trusts – but back home it charges patients less than half that at £1.42

A French parking firm is hitting NHS patients here with higher charges than at hospitals in France.

Indigo Park Services rakes in up to £2.90 an hour at the car parks it runs for UK trusts. But back home it charges patients less than HALF that at £1.42.

The company has already been blasted for taking nurses here to court over unpaid parking fines.

Yet Indigo, which also runs hospital car parks in Paris, Marseille, Strasbourg and Versailles, still retains a string of private finance deals with NHS trusts.

The firm charges patients and visitors £2.90 an hour to park at renowned Addenbrooke’s in Cambridgeshire under a three-year PFI contract.

It demands the same at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital car park while at Hereford County it rakes in a minimum £3.60 for up to two hours.

But back on French soil, at its Hospital Hautepierre car park in Strasbourg patients and families pay the euro equivalent of £1.42 an hour.

A two-hour stay is £1.86. At Bordeaux University Hospital, charges are £1.50 an hour and at Marseille’s Hospital Conception, it’s £1.60.

Martyn James, of consumer website Resolver, said: “It’s not fair that Indigo’s hospital car park users in France get a better deal than people here.”

And Marc Gander of the Consumer Action Group site said: “NHS patients and families will be heartily sick to learn they are paying more than those across the Channel.”

Nearly half of England’s hospital parking is in private hands, says Labour, which has vowed to abolish charges.

Unions fought the fines, but a judge ruled them fair. A Sunday Mirror campaign has urged Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to scrap fees for staff.

Charges can be set by trusts depending on the type of contract. Latest figures show trusts made a record £120million from parking last year.

Paris-based Indigo netted £11.5m turnover and a £4.6m profit from NHS contracts in Cambridgeshire, Dundee, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Cardiff in 2016.

At the University Hospital of Wales, where it has a 15-year contract, it made £2.8m profit, up from £1.4m in 2015. Nearly 80 staff at the Cardiff hospital got penalty tickets of about £3,000 each from Indigo last year.

Marc Gander of the Consumer Action Group website said: “NHS patients and their families will be heartily sick to learn they are being stung for even greater hospital parking fees than those across the Channel.”

Parking chiefs say charges are usually set by the hospitals themselves, although this depends on the type of contract.

Indigo declined to comment.

 

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