Parking at HRI costs a third more than in Huddersfield town centre, an MP has highlighted.
Colne Valley MP Thelma Walker has joined in the Labour party’s push for hospitals to scrap parking fees.
And she has claimed that Calderdale and Huddersfield patients feel like “cash cows”.
The hospital trust raked in £2.7m in 2016/17 from parking fees – but it says all the money goes back into patient care.
With the trust some £23m in the red, offering free parking would cause more pain to its struggling finances.
Speaking in a backbench business committee debate on hospital car parking charges, the former headteacher spoke out about the extortionate costs that patients and some staff face when parking at a Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust (CHFT) site.
The debate, which was brought forward by a cross-party group of MPs, aimed to highlight the costs facing those who use hospital car parks.
It also highlighted the wider issue charges can have on the surrounding area, as some people choose to park in residential areas to avoid the costs.
Thelma raised the fact that it is a third cheaper to park in a Kirklees Council car park than at a NHS trust site, saying: “Is this not NHS Trusts profiteering from the sick and vulnerable?
“To park in the Market Hall in Huddersfield it is 90p per hour and Huddersfield bus station charges £4 for a full day.
“To park at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary , however, it sets patients back £2.80 for up to a two hour stay and over £7 for more than six hours.
“Whilst CHFT do meet national guidelines by ensuring that certain groups of people are exempt from the charges, many are forced to pay them, including Blue Badge holders and some staff."
A spokesperson for CHFT told the Examiner that staff could get parking permits that cost £32 a month.
The Trust’s Director of Estates, Lesley Hill, said: “ It is with regret we charge for parking at our hospitals yet our charges are amongst the lowest in West Yorkshire.
"All fees are reinvested in patient care and into providing the parking facilities for our patients and visitors.“
Labour has said it would fund free parking for NHS England for patients, staff and visitors, by increasing the tax on private medical insurance premiums.
Thelma added: “Whilst I understand the £2.7m the trust received through car parking charges in 2016/17 plugs the gap in the funding from central government, it is not right that patients and staff are being forced to pay over-the-odds car parking charges.”