Paid for parking spaces at Altnagelvin Hospital generated an income of more than a quarter of a million pounds last year, the ‘Journal’ can reveal.
The figures which were obtained by the ‘Derry Journal’ under the Freedom of Information act disclosed that in the period between January 1 2014 and January 1 2015 the income for the car park was £256,633.
The Western Trust currently has 336 paid for car parking spaces at Altnagelvin Hospital and 1,579 free spaces on site .
However renal dialysis patients; relatives/next of kin of patients in high dependency or intensive care, and chemotherapy patients are exempt from charges.
Car park charging has been in place on the Altnagelvin Hospital site since 2006.
A spokesperson for the Western Trust said: “The demand for car parking at hospitals continues to grow year on year and the larger facilities in particular are affected by a range of parking related problems.
“Due to the high volumes of traffic, measures needed to be put in place to improve traffic management arrangements, utilisation of parking spaces, and access by patients, carers, visitors and staff.
“Such measures require investment, and in order to ensure the Trust can cover all costs associated with providing, managing and maintaining well lit, secure car parking facilities, income must be generated.
“Using car parking income to offset these costs also ensures that Trust funding is not diverted away from supporting direct patient care.”
The spokeswoman said that the income raised from the car parking charges is used to support the costs associated with the provision, management and maintenance of the car parking facilities provided at these two hospital sites.
She continued: “This includes all aspects of the operation and management of the car parking (traffic management, site security, lighting, maintenance and administration), service maintenance contracts (barriers, pay stations and CCTV), as well as supporting the capital costs associated with car parking provision.
“Between 2012 and 2015 the Trust has made significant investment in replacement and additional car parking facilities at both acute hospital sites.
“In December 2014 the Trust confirmed that a contract had been awarded for the construction of a multi storey car park at Altnagelvin.
“At a value of £4.4m, construction work is currently underway, with the aim of completion by the end of August 2015.”