Ninewells Hospital parking charges rise branded a “slap in the face”

© Kim Cessford
Parking has long been a problem at Ninewells.

Patients, visitors and staff at Ninewells Hospital will be hit with increased parking charges in 2018, it has been revealed.

Indigo Parking, which runs the car parks at the Dundee site, will increase the staff annual permit from £416.40 to £436.80 and the monthly permit from £34.70 to £36.40.

The daily and short stay charges will both rise from £2.20 to £2.30.

The move, which will take effect from January 24, has been condemned by Bill Bowman, Conservative MSP for the North East.

He said: “Any increase in parking charges at Ninewells is a miserly way to start 2018.

“Visitors and staff members on limited incomes are already held captive by an agreement the government has done nothing to renegotiate.

“This will also be a slap in the face for hard-working employees who rely on a car and have no other option but to pay a yearly hike.

“They also risk fines and court appearances if unavoidably detained on duty.”

Ninewells is one of only three hospitals in Scotland where people still have to pay to park.

The Scottish Government scrapped charges elsewhere in 2008 but said lengthy private finance initiative contracts at the Dundee site, as well as at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and Glasgow Royal Infirmary were too costly to buy out.

Three Ninewells nurses were ordered to pay more than £4,000 in parking fines to Indigo in September.

The nurses had claimed recovery charges were exorbitant and the signs containing information about terms and conditions were unclear, but Dundee Sheriff Court ruled against them.

Residents living close to Ninewells have repeatedly complained about their streets being used as an “overspill car park” by people wishing to avoid the parking charges.

A petition was set up earlier this year in a bid to scrap the controversial charges altogether. It has been signed by nearly 3,000 people.

Asked about the charges, an Indigo Parking spokesperson said: “We can confirm parking prices at Ninewells will increase by 10p per day on 24 January.

“This planned increase is stipulated in our contract with NHS Tayside Board and is based on RPI (Retail Price Index) increases”.

A spokesperson for NHS Tayside said: “Car parking at Ninewells Hospital is run by Indigo under a 30-year private finance initiative contract which concludes in 2028.

“Car parking charges at Ninewells are reviewed by Indigo as part of the contract and the new charges are a result of this.”

Scottish health secretary Shona Robison has previously said the government would ideally “abolish charging at the three PFI car parks too” but insisted its hands were tied by the contracts negotiated before the SNP came to power.