Yesterday's announcement that free car parking is to return to most Scottish hospitals will come as a welcome relieve to most patients, their families and members of staff at affected hospitals who had to pay to get to work. The three exceptions are the PFI initiative funded hospitals the Edinburgh and Glasgow Royal Infirmaries and Ninewalls in Glasgow.
So for West Lothian residents that fact that some of the services removed from St. John's at Livingston in 2004 would now have free parking and local access if not removed to the ERI adds to the discord of services being spread across the Lothian Health Board. The same must also be true of patients who get referred to the GRI or Ninewalls.
Nicola Sturgeon is quite right that "Chief among [the founding principles] is that the NHS should be free at the point of delivery and...this should apply whether one comes to hospital as a patient, visitor or a member of staff." What we need now is to find a way to overcome the disparage in parking regulations dependent on where your treatment is available within a health board. Your fine if you will get treated at St. John's, the Western General or the Royal Hospital for Sick Children but if you have long term care requirements that can only be meet at the ERI, PFI contracts are going to cost you and your visitors.