THE reintroduction of parking charges at a Worcester hospital has been delayed “until further notice”.

Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust announced last week that patients and visitors would need to pay to park for the first time since before the pandemic.

But a problem with ticket machines means parking will remain free - for now.

The reintroduction of charges would have affected all three of the trust’s hospitals - Worcestershire Royal Hospital, Kidderminster Hospital and the Alexandra Hospital in Redditch.

“During final preparations to reintroduce parking charges for patients and visitors across all our sites, we have become aware of an issue with arrangements for the collection of cash from ticket machines,” a trust spokesperson said.

“To ensure that all ticket machines across all our sites – for both cash and card payments – are available for use by patients and visitors, we have decided to defer the reintroduction of parking charges.

Free parking continues for hospital staff

“Parking will remain free for all patients and visitors across all our sites until further notice. Free parking will also continue for all our staff across all hospital sites.”

The acute hospitals trust has said that, when it does start charging again, some patients receiving regular care will be eligible for a reduced-fee parking pass.

Concession application forms are available from a number of hospital departments including terminally ill, cardiac exercise, the coronary care unit (CCU), intensive therapy unit/critical care unit (ITU), oncology, paediatrics, bereavement, renal unit and long stay.

All parking charges across the NHS were suspended at the beginning of the pandemic in March. But that suspension was lifted in April and it has since been up to individual NHS trusts to decide when to start charging again.

Herefordshire and Worcestershire Health and Social Care Trust, which runs community hospitals in Malvern, Pershore, Tenbury, Bromsgrove and Evesham, has already reinstated parking charges for visitors.

It plans to start charging staff again from September.