VISITORS to the three hospitals in Worcestershire handed over more than £2.5 million in car parking fees last year.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust collected £2,551,096 in 2016/17, down slightly by 0.2 per cent on the previous year.

Staff at the three hospitals coughed up £646,981 in the same period with patients and visitors paying £1,904,114.

The figures, which go back to 2013/14, reveal that the trust regularly collects more than £2 million a year from car parking fees, money which they say is ploughed back into frontline services.

A spokesman for Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust said: “We regularly benchmark our car parking charges against other local hospital trusts to ensure that our charges remain in line with, or cheaper, than the average hospital parking charges.

“As some of our patients require regular visits to our hospitals, we also offer a special concessionary parking charge of £1 per day for parents visiting children in our care, patients with cancer and other long-stay patients and their visitors.

“The majority of income gained from car park charges is invested back into the maintenance and upgrade of our car parking and road systems, as well as providing security. Any surplus is then put back in to funding frontline NHS services.”

The trust currently charges £2.50 for an hour’s parking and up to £7.50 for a 24 hours.

Reduced fees are available for certain patients and close relatives including those who need regular or long term visits, those suffering from cancer, coronary problems or renal failure, or those visiting paediatrics as well as bereaved relatives.

The trust also offers free 20-minute drop off areas outside every hospital.

Overall, visitors to the hospital have handed over £7.2 million in parking charges since 2013 which includes £1.8 million paid by staff.

The £2,551,096 collected by the trust in 2016/17 making it one of the top 20 earners from parking charges in the country.

The figures, obtained by Freedom of Information (FOI) requests made by the Press Association, collected data from 111 NHS trusts across England.