Blue badge holders will now have to pay for parking at hospitals.
In a controversial move, from April 1 Blue Badge holders must pay the same parking charges as other motorists at Watford General Hospital, Hemel Hempstead’s Urgent Care Centre and St Albans City Hospital.
Director of strategy and infrastructure Louise Gaffney said: “This decision was not made lightly by the trust board, but it believes that it will create fairness and equality for everyone needing to use the hospital car parks. Trust staff with a Blue Badge are charged for parking on site.
“The trust will continue to have dedicated, priority spaces for disabled visitors. A wide range of car parking discounts are also on offer to patients and visitors who park at the sites frequently. In addition, there are free 30 minute parking bays available on each of our hospital sites. Information on concessions is widely available throughout all of the hospitals and on the trust’s website.
“Many other NHS Trusts and local authorities charge Blue Badge holders to use car parking facilities.”
Parking at the three hospital sites currently costs £4 for up to three hours, £6 for up to five hours and £12 for the whole day.
A reduced parking rate is on offer to patients and visitors who are attending any ward or department on a frequent or long-term basis and also to some relatives.
For patients attending more than once per day or more than twice a week for up to four weeks a £4 day or £8 week rate is on offer. This is also available to an ‘active carer’ - someone who is actively participating in the rehabilitation or care of a loved one. For those attending more than twice a week for a period of more than four weeks a month-long permit can be purchased for £24.
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