Parking charges and concessions at Dorset County Hospital are to be re-written.

Hospital Governors heard on Monday that a series of concessions for patients and visitors were available – but differed between departments.

The ‘custom and practice’ rules had built up over the years, apparently without authorisation, according to chief executive Patricia Miller.

She said that a review was now planned to bring the current reduced rates in line with national guidelines.

“It says on the parking charges board that for concessions you should get in touch with reception – but if you do they haven’t got the foggiest idea,” said Weymouth and Portland Governor Andy Hutchings, “what does it take to produce a simple list which is available to patients and visitors? It’s something I have been banging on about for years.”

He said he started asking questions when he was told about a man who came in morning and evening to feed his elderly mother but was never told that he could get concessionary parking.

Council of Governors Chair Mark Addison admitted that when the hospital started to look at the issue it realised it has what he described as “a muddle of policies.”

“We decided that all the policies for parking need looking at …we’re not in that position yet but we need to sort it out.”

Said chief executive Patricia Miller: “Our policy is in line with national guidelines but virtually all the departments and wards were offering concessions without the authority to do so.

“We will pull it all together and rationalise it.” But she admitted that with other, pressing financial and performance concerns, the parking issue would not be as high on list of priorities that some people would like.

Concern was also expressed during the meeting about what some staff saw as unfair concessionary parking charges for staff – with highly paid doctors and consultants being charged the same £2.50 day rate as the hospital’s lowest paid workers.

The Hospital say there are no plans to change to a tiered rate, tied to salary, but says it will look at parking policies for staff as part of a review which will include parking on the former Damers Road School site, now owned by the Trust.