Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Burnham Flip-Flops On NHS Parking

A story from September:

"Health Secretary Andy Burnham says Labour hopes to scrap hospital parking charges for in-patients in England if the party wins the next election. He said patients would get a permit to cover the length of their stay which visitors could use to park for free."

A story from today:

"Andy Burnham has outlined proposals to phase out hospital parking charges for inpatients and some outpatients which he says have caused 'great resentment'.

The health secretary pledged a 'fairer' system for relatives and friends of people admitted to hospital in England. He said an eight-week consultation would ensure plans were affordable at a time of pressure on NHS finances.

The consultation is looking at whether to abolish fees for all inpatients' visitors - or just those admitted for a long stay."

It's as clear a flip-flop as you're likely to see. First, the plan is for visitors to have passes allowing them to park for free. But now that particular aspect of plan needs to be consulted on. I also love the way the word 'fairness' is creeping in to every single Labour announcement, in an attempt to draw Brown's famous dividing lines with the Tories. Quite how it's fair to charge anyone for parking when they visit a hospital is beyond me, but I'm sure Burnham knows what he's talking about.

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