Hospital car parks: £50 million revenue in 2021 for the NHS
Third-party revenue generation: a sounding board to balance budgets?
Third-party revenue generation, qu’est ce que c’est? While there seems to be a renewed interest for the financial autonomy of hospitals.
Balancing the books has always been a concern for health managers. The provision of clinical and ancillary care, capital investment in assets and technology -whether construction, refurbishment, or transformation- debt service or change in activities, or fiscal constraints linked to local government devolution and running of public services are only but a few of the challenges faced by hospitals the world over.
Over the last 30 years, third-party revenue generation has offered complementary sources of revenue for health assets to overcome strict budgetary constraints.
These revenues are often linked to the development of ancillary services such as accommodation for patients’ families, rentals of TV equipment, or lease of shops (flower shops, vending machines, or newsstands), down to coffee shops and restaurants in some cases.
French hospitals have developed innovative sources of revenue over time: the Paris hospitals created a TV production negotiation unit to charge TV and film shooting in the hospital wards.
Meanwhile the Burgundy hospitals’ budget is deemed one of the most comfortable due to exclusive vineyards owned by the hospitals.
A traditional source of third-party revenue generation is….car park charges. In a recent article, voices in the UK expressed displeasure at that £50 million garnered by the NHS in 2021. These car park charges applied to staff, visitors, patients and their families. Click here for a complete breakdown of figures.
The outrage stems from the particular role that staff played in staving off one of the biggest pandemies that affected the world: substantial amounts for car park charges or even fines recouped on staff who relentlessly fought COVID-19 are seen as unfair, in particular against the promise of policy makers that these charges would be alleviated in this context.
Beyond this particular example, it may be wise to keep in mind that third-party revenue generation are a sound mean for hospitals to ensure financial viability.
These £50 million account for maintenance, surveillance and operation of the car park equipments. They also enable better asset management and maintenance, at a time where the same voices complaining about the charges often lament about the under spending in healthcare facility management.