According to a Government announcement in 2019, from April 2020 all 206 NHS Hospital Trusts across England will offer free parking to thousands of patients, staff and carers. Free parking will be available at any time for certain eligible groups, and at specific times for others. PayByPhone, a global leader in mobile parking payments, offers a solution to make the transition to the new government-required system simple and seamless.

Rebecca Maisey, Head of Client Management for PayByPhone UK, says: “To comply with the government’s new guidelines, our Eligibility-based parking feature can allow hospitals to create flexible and bespoke parking conditions. The feature, available on our app, automatically recognises which tariff should be applied to a registered car, depending on the time of day, or the category to which it belongs.”

Once the hospital has outlined the various categories entitled to free or concessionary parking, they are entered into the PayByPhone hospital database. These could include: disabled drivers, staff, parents of sick children who regularly spend time at the hospital, or those with long-term conditions. This hospital database is then populated with the eligible visitors’ vehicle registration numbers. As soon as a number plate has been added to the system, that driver will automatically be registered as exempt and not be charged for parking.

“While free parking will be offered to those who are eligible, hospitals can still offer concessions to other regular car park users if they want to. Our Eligibility-based parking feature gives hospitals the flexibility to do this and allows them to apply their own unique parameters as required,” continues Maisey.

Croydon University Hospital introduced PayByPhone’s Eligibility-based parking feature in Autumn 2018 in order to offer a concessionary parking rate to staff. Before its introduction, staff would have to obtain scratch card permits, which they would display in their cars. Wasim Ahmed, Supervisor for National Car Parks (EUK) Limited, who operates the hospital’s car parks, says, “The scratch card option was always problematic as the cards would often get lost or damaged, and staff couldn’t always obtain the permits when they needed them.

“The PayByPhone system was very straightforward to implement and has been welcomed by all our staff.”

Maisey concludes, “PayByPhone is all about making parking hassle-free so that people can get on with what matters most, so while the hospital benefits from the PayByPhone system and its clear advantages, its visitors do as well. The PayByPhone app is free, quick and easy to download and to use. For all hospital visitors, whether concessionary or not, our Extend-From-Anywhere feature allows them to extend their parking sessions remotely via the app, in accordance with the car parks’ terms and conditions. This means they don’t need to worry if their appointment or visit takes longer than expected.”

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