NHS Disabled Parking

Campaign for free disabled parking at hospitals in England

Our campaign has highlighted the fact that: “one in seven hospital sites now charges for disabled parking, an increase of 12 per cent in a year! We question whether any of these hospitals have carried out an assessment of the impact before their decision to introduce charges upon disabled people, which would provide evidence on whether they had in fact breached their Public Sector Equality Duty under the Equality Act 2010?

If this this current trend continues in approximately 7 years all NHS hospitals in England will be charging for disabled parking! Disability rates are between 15-20% of the population, meaning that there are approx. 14 million disabled people in the UK. The cumulative impact of these changes is limiting the access of millions of disabled people to critical healthcare across NHS hospitals in England and must be abolished immediately!

Purpose of the Campaign:

To abolish all disabled car parking charges from NHS Hospitals in England immediately!

Rationale: Why blue badge parking at hospitals should be free

  1. The Equality Act 2010 states that ‘reasonable adjustments’ should be made for disabled people.
  2. The NHS has a public duty to ensure that disabled people can access the NHS on the same basis as non-disabled people.  Removing undue financial barriers to attending hospital appointments would constitute such an adjustment.
  3. Charges for disabled parking have been scrapped in Scotland and Wales; England is the only country in the Union to charge.  In 2017 a United Nation’s report declared “The British state was failing in its duties towards its disabled citizens” and that the conditions for disabled people in Britain were tantamount to a “human catastrophe”.
  4. A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said (in 2019) “our guidelines make clear that concessions should be offered, including for disabled parking, and we expect Trusts to be following these” - but figures show that 43% of NHS Trusts raised their parking fees in 2017/18.
  5. One in seven hospitals is now charging for disabled parking. This is a rise of 12% in just one year.
  6. Due to a pervasive lack of accessible (i.e. step-free) public transport, disabled people can only reach the vast majority of hospitals by car.  Some disabled people are unable to use even step-free public transport.  For example, many people with autism or dementia find being in crowds and unfamiliar places stressful, so taking a busy bus or train would be potentially unsafe.
  7. Disabled people have lower incomes than non-disabled people and tend to have higher living costs;
    7.1 Almost half the people in poverty in the UK are in a household with a disabled person or are disabled themselves (Joseph Rowntree Foundation August 2016).
    7.2 The Centre for Welfare Reform calculated in 2013 that disabled people would endure nine times the burden of cuts compared to the average citizen with people with the most severe disabilities being hit a staggering nineteen times higher.
    7.3 In July 2019 research by the Disability Benefits Consortium (a coalition of more than 80 UK disability organisations), showed changes to the social security system over the past 10 years have left disabled adults four times worse off financially than those without a disability. 
  8. Disabled parking is free everywhere else except in hospitals – which is exactly where disabled people need free parking the most.  Due to the nature of parking charges, the more need you have to access health services, the more you have to pay.
  9. Disabled people are more likely to live from multiple health conditions.  There is a high correlation between disability and co-mobility necessitating frequent visits to multiple different hospitals. 
  10. Disabled adults were more likely than non-disabled adults to report their current health status as bad to very bad (29.2% compared to 0.9%) (https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/publication-download/being-disabled-britain-journey-less-equal EHRC Being Disabled in Britain 2017).
  11. Jeremy Hunt vowed to reform the system in 2014 to ensure concessions for people with disabilities.
  12. There is universal, cross party support;
    12.1  Lord Chris Holmes tweeted his backing on 19th July 2019.
    12.2  Jonathan Ashworth MP (Labour’s shadow Health and Social Care Secretary) said ‘we need these car parking charges binned.  It’s time ministers sorted this out’;
  13. There is a growing coalition of disability charities applying pressure on the Government for change.
  14. There are currently 14m disabled citizens in the UK (Scope).
  15. A high threshold of disability needs to be constantly proved to obtain and keep a blue badge.
  16. The NHS continues to waste tens of millions in it’s failed hospital closure programme.

    “£76m has been spent on management consultants for the failed scheme from 2010-11 until the end of 2018.”  This mismanagement makes it even more disgusting that the plan is now to make a few tens of thousands off the backs of disabled people; Shaping a Healthier Future in NW London


Timelines & Publications:

4th July 2019 – Our campaign was initiated by Kush Kanodia, a patient Governor at Chelsea Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, at the Public Board meeting of Chelsea Westminster NHS Foundation Trust after they announced their disgraceful decision to start charging for disabled parking at Chelsea Westminster Hospital.

8th July – The formal launch of our campaign was when Kush Kanodia was appointed as the new Ambassador and Leader of the campaign with Disability Rights UK (DR UK).  DR UK is the largest pan-disability charity in the UK that is disabled person led and we manage the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Disability at the UK Parliament. https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/news/2019/july/meet-kush-kanodia-mba-our-new-ambassador

10th July – Kush Kanodia attended the King's Fund Annual Leadership and Management Summit titled “Compassionate and Inclusive Leadership” and asked Rt Hon Matt Hancock MP, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, “What do we do when the people we trust to deliver our healthcare fail to show compassion or inclusive leadership?” Mr Kanodia requested support for the new campaign from Mr Hancock and Simon Stevens, the CEO of NHS England. Kush received no response from either, but he did receive round of applause from the whole audience at the Kings Fund when he highlighted the purpose of the new campaign.

11TH July – Disability News Service: Disabled governor’s anger over hospital’s parking charges sparks new campaign. https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/disabled-governors-anger-over-hospitals-parking-charges-sparks-new-campaign/

15th July – Daily Mail: Number of NHS hospitals charging disabled patients for parking is RISING despite pledge from ministers to end the rip-off. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7246813/Number-NHS-hospitals-charging-disabled-patients-parking-RISING.html

15th July – Telegraph: NHS hospitals increasingly charging disabled patients to park, investigation finds as Health Secretary urged to act. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/14/nhs-hospitals-increasingly-charging-disabled-patients-park-investigation/

15th July – The Times: One in seven hospitals charges for disabled parking. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/one-in-seven-hospitals-charges-for-disabled-parking-hfrmdh69p

16th July – BBC London Radio: On Drivetime with Eddie Nestor who interview’s Lucy Aliband – Director of Communications & Trustee of Disability Right UK (Please skip to 1:18:53). https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p07fbfhd

18th July – Disability News Service: Hancock confronted over hospital parking charges for disabled patients. https://www.disabilitynewsservice.com/hancock-confronted-over-hospital-parking-charges-for-disabled-patients/

25th July – At the Council of Governors’ meeting at Chelsea Westminster NHS Foundation Trust, the Executive of the Trust announced their decision is to now delay the implementation of charging for disabled parking at Chelsea Westminster Hospital. The trust’s plan is to now set up a Working Group going forward. Kush Kanodia has requested to be part of this Working Group going forward due to his expertise on disability and the NHS.

Key Facts:

2019 – Correlation between Disability and Poverty: The Social Metrics Commission’s report confirms that disability is one of the strongest predictors of being in poverty. Nearly half of all those living below the breadline live in a household where someone is disabled.


2019 - Disability comes with an extortionate and shocking price tag: One in five disabled people incur extra costs of £583 per month, with almost 25 per cent looking at more than £1000 extra. This price tag is calculated after welfare payments designed to meet those costs have been considered.


2019 - Disability Employment Gap: Only 51.5% of disabled people are in work, compared with around 81.7% of non-disabled people. In 2017, the government set a goal to see one million more disabled people in work in the 10 years to 2027. The National Audit Office report in 2019 called “Support disabled people to Work” concludes the Department of Work and Penson’s has recognised that it does not understand enough to frame a full implementation strategy to help more disabled people to work.


2019 – Barriers to Work: Research commissioned by agency Inclusive Boards has found that: “Only 11% or 1 in 10 of over 1000 leaders surveyed said they wouldn’t be apprehensive about recruiting a disabled person to a senior role. In addition, two-thirds of those surveyed did not know any senior disabled leaders. 7.6 million people of working age (16-64) reported being disabled in 2019, 1 in 5 (20%) of the working-age population.

  • 41% felt disabled people might take a lot of sick leave and 45% said their offices wouldn’t be accessible.
  • Respondents also said, ‘disabled people’s capabilities might not be enough to carry the job properly’ and ‘they didn’t think disabled people could cope with the high stress involved with executive life.’
  • One third did not think their organisation would benefit from employing a disabled person.


2017 – Missed Opportunities and Failures: Progress towards real equality for disabled people over the past twenty years is insufficient and 'littered with missed opportunities and failures,’ according to the Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission following the publication of ‘Being disabled in Britain: A journey less equal, a comprehensive analysis on how the rights of disabled people are no longer protected in Great Britain.


2017 - Systematic violations of disabled people rights: Austerity policies introduced into welfare and social care by the UK government amount to “systematic violations” of the rights of people with disabilities, a UN inquiry has concluded. The UK government is failing to uphold disabled people’s rights across a range of areas from education, work and housing to health, transport and social security, a UN committee has concluded.


2017 - Health and social care spending cuts linked to 120,000 excess deaths in England - The squeeze on public finances since 2010 is linked to nearly 120,000 excess deaths in England, with the over 60s and care home residents bearing the brunt, reveals the first study of its kind, published in the online journal BMJ Open.


Current - Inaccessible Public Transport - Only 26% of all London Tube stations are accessible (70 out of 270”. Disabled people often have no other choice but must drive to hospital due to our inaccessible public transport. NHS Trusts who charge for disabled parking in London can, therefore, amount to Direct Discrimination against Disabled People, under the Equality Act 2010, where disability is one of the protected characteristics.


Our Campaign Team:

Kush Kanodia: Leader of the Campaign, Ambassador for Disability Rights UK and Governor for Chelsea Westminster NHS Foundation Trust Hospital: kushuk@gmail.com 

Lucy Aliband: Director of Communications of the Campaign and Trustee for Disability Rights UK: lucy.aliband@disabilityrightsuk.org

Kamran Mallick: CEO of Disability Rights UK (DR UK)

Equality & Rights