VISITORS are paying too much to park at Pinderfields Hospital because a cheap weekly rate is not properly advertised.
They are paying up to £6.50 a day to park at the hospital when a weekly pass can be bought for the same amount.
There is a long stay discount for friends and relatives of people hospitalised for more than a few days but there was no information about the rate displayed in its car parks when the Express visited.
And people visiting poorly relatives said they were not told about the concession.
Janet Shaw, 62, of Saville Street, Ossett, has been visiting her mother at Pinderfields for around six weeks.
She said: “I’ve spent more than £100 on car parking. I could have saved at least £50.
“If there is a cheaper rate they should advertise it and put something up on the wards. There is nothing in the car park to tell you about it.
“This is catching people out at their most vulnerable. I don’t think it’s fair.”
It costs £1.30 to park for up to an hour at Pinderfields, £2.60 for up to two hours, £3.90 for up to four hours and £6.50 for between four and 24 hours.
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals Trust, which runs the hospital, has apologised to any patients not made aware of its parking concessions.
A spokesman for the trust said there was information about the long stay discount on its website, and ward staff could advise visitors about it and that details were also in information leaflets sent to patients.
He said: “To obtain this permit, patients and visitors should purchase a £6.50 ticket from the pay and display machine and take this with a signed temporary parking permit application from the relevant ward to our general office.”
Anita Oldroyd, 58, said she only found out when she wrote a letter of complaint. She has been visiting her father at the hospital since before Christmas.
Mrs Oldroyd, of Crigglestone, said: “It’s absolutely disgusting. The problem is there’s a concessionary ticket which is not advertised to the public. There should be signs and leaflets. I spoke to loads of other people and none of them knew about it.”
The trust used to have an agreement which saw any surplus cash from parking go directly to help patient care.
But this arrangement was abandoned when Mid Yorkshire signed a Private Finance Agreement (PFI) to build new hospitals in Wakefield and Pontefract.
Mid Yorkshire confirmed that cash from parking at Pinderfields and Pontefract went to the PFI company which runs the car parks, Consort Healthcare.
The trust said: “The revenue from car parking goes to Consort Healthcare, not to the trust.”
Mrs Oldroyd added: “If the money went to the trust I wouldn’t be so annoyed. But if it goes to a private company then that’s even worse.”
Iain Brodie, general manager for facilities at Pinderfields, said: “We offer a range of car parking concessions to help our patients and visitors.
“We promote details of all the concessions that we offer in a variety of ways, including on our website, in patient information leaflets that are available across the trust and via ward staff.
“We are sorry if some patients were not made aware of these concessions.”