Are hospital car park charges becoming a tax on patients and carers?

Last year trusts earned a massive£98m in parking charges - up 64 per cent in four years (for more details, click here).

In more cash-strapped times hospitals understandably turned to car parks as an easy way to generate funds, but now it appears charges are being ratcheted up without any consideration of the impact on those forced to pay.

It should be obvious that infirm patients and visitors, and those with children, have legitimate reasons to drive to hospital.

Those suffering long-term conditions risk racking up substantial bills. Even nimble-footed visitors should not feel as if they are being fined for popping in to cheer up a patient.

Any hospital regular will know from the mutterings and profanities round the pay and display machines how much these charges are resented.

Hospitals should not be exploiting people through extortionate, unreasonable charges.