Disabled people, along with frequent outpatient attendees, parents of sick children staying overnight and staff working night shifts, will not have to pay for NHS car parking from April 2020.
Thousands of NHS patients and visitors in England will be able to access free hospital car parking under a new approach.
Set out by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, the government will also consider car parking capacity across the country, and how improved technology will reduce burdens for hospitals and take away stress for visitors.
Currently, NHS trusts are responsible for making their own car parking arrangements, including setting any charges. Any profits from car parking charges must be reinvested into frontline care.
From April, all 206 hospital trusts in England will be expected to provide free car parking to groups that may be frequent hospital visitors, or those disproportionately impacted by daily or hourly charges for parking.
The government said that it is committed to work with the NHS and others to ensure that it spreads existing good practice from NHS organisations applying current exemptions effectively to others uses the NHS standard contract if needed to ensure compliance.
It also wants to assess where capital investment could help to improve the experience of patients and visitors
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “This month millions of people put their trust in this government to deliver. One of the concerns mentioned regularly on the doorsteps was that vulnerable people, and staff working nights, have to pay for hospital car parking. So we are today delivering on our manifesto commitment and setting out our new approach to NHS hospital parking charges.”
He added: “Currently, the situation varies from hospital to hospital. Instead, from April, across the country those with the greatest need – such as disabled people, parents staying overnight with sick children in hospital, and NHS staff working nightshifts – will no longer have to pay for parking.”