A HOSPITAL trust has received more than £2.3 million from patients and visitors car parking charges as well as £620,000 in staff car parking fees.

The NHS has revealed figures on the amount of income hospital trusts have received from car parking charges for staff and visitors.

The data was collected from ambulance, care, hospital and NHS trusts as well as hospital and community health services from April last year to March this year.

The figures have revealed the East Suffolk and North Essex NHS Foundation Trust had an income of £2,317,173 from car parking charges for patients and visitors as well as £621,012 from staff.

Fiona Sparrow, head of facilities at the trust which runs Colchester, Ipswich, Clacton and Harwich hospitals, said: “We look after 10,000 people every day, many of whom come to hospital by car and we have concessions in place, including free parking, for patients who have frequent appointments and visitors who come to see their loved ones on a daily basis.

“We are working on a more simple, clear parking system for everyone at the trust in the future.”

A spokesman for the trust added: “All the money raised from parking charges goes back into patient care, this includes maintaining and improving our car parks.”

The trust suffered a backlash after it cut back parking spaces for staff, meaning only 1,000 of the 3,000 staff working at Colchester Hospital have been allocated a space.

Staff were also angry when the trust gave 100 spaces to patients using the urgent treatment centre.

In response, the trust said it had allocated 140 spaces for staff - 70 at the soon-to-be rebranded Turner Road surgery and a further 70 at the Mill Road surgery.

But it was later discovered the hospital did not have planning permission to use the spaces in Mill Road and has subsequently applied.

Figures for the Mid Essex Hospital Services NHS Trust showed an income of £1,377,724 for patient and visitor car parking and £256,794 for staff parking.

The most lucrative car parking trust is the University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Trust in the Midlands and East of England Commissioning Region which raked in £4.1 million for visitors’s car parking and £1.8 million for charging staff.

The data was collected by the Estates Returns Information Collection, which is a mandatory collection for all NHS trusts including Ambulance trusts.

It comprises information relating to the costs of providing and maintaining the NHS Estate.