Many of the people who use Turn2us services have illnesses and disabilities or are caring for someone who does. This can often mean living on a limited income.
A recent article in Saga Magazine, published in December 2016, has highlighted the struggles many people have paying for hospital parking in England (most hospitals in Scotland and Wales don't charge, Northern Ireland the costs vary).
A recent Press Association investigation has also revealed that a third of English hospital trusts have increased these charges in the last year - and 38% also charge for disabled parking. The systems used and the amounts charged vary but some people report paying hundreds of pounds in parking charges when a relative has a prolonged hospital stay.
What help is available?
If you are on a low income, you may be eligible for help through a grant from a charitable fund. You can use the Turn2us Grants Search to find possible sources of help, based on your background, personal circumstances and needs.
You can also use our Benefits Calculator to check your entitlement to benefits.
NHS Trust concessions
Check with the NHS Trust whether they have any parking concession schemes and if so, how you apply for them. Some people on a low income or receipt of certain benefits may be able to claim hospital travel costs under the Healthcare Travel Costs Scheme. Some hospitals also have schemes for carers.
Your local Patient Liaison Service (PALS) should be able to advise you further. You can use the NHS Choices PALS Search to find your local office or the hospital website should list the number.
See Help with the cost of travel to Hospital information and Help with Health Costs information
Blue Badge Parking Permit
It would also be worth checking whether you are eligible for the Blue Badge Parking Permit which allows people who qualify for the scheme – as a driver or a passenger – to park close to where they need to go. It also provides exemption from some tolls at river crossings, bridges and tunnels as well as the London Congestion Charge - although in most cases you have to apply in advance to qualify. It can also be used in some European Union countries.
The scheme is available throughout the UK, but the rules about where you can park differ in each country.
Read our Travel costs guide: People with disabilities and carers for more information on the Blue Badge Parking Permit and other travel concessions that might be available.
You may also find it helpful to read the following Turn2us information sections:
Saga Magazine article (7 December 2016 Maria McCarthy): Hospital Parking Costs
Sky News article (28 December 2016): Hospital car parks bring in more than £120m for NHS trusts