A transport service that ferries patients and staff between hospital sites will be scrapped from April.
The service – running between Hemel Hempstead’s Urgent Care Centre, Watford General and St Albans City hospitals – costs around £449,000 each year to run.
But the inter-site transport service will be taken off the road from April 1.
Louise Gaffney, director for West Herts Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs the hospitals, said: “Regrettably, the trust can no longer support a free transport service between its three hospital sites.
“This service was set up some years ago primarily as an interim support mechanism for staff travelling between sites.
“We appreciate that this may cause problems for staff and a small number of patients who currently use this service.
“However, in these difficult economic times, the trust’s limited resources must be directed first and foremost into treating its patients.”
The hospitals trust has also just announced that it will be introducing parking charges for disabled people at its sites.
It means Blue Badge holders will be subject to the same charges that other visitors and patients pay – £4 for up to three hours, £6 for up to five hours and £12 for the day.
Ms Gaffney said the controversial move is to create ‘fairness’ and ‘equality’ for everyone.
An annual income of £1,182,422 was received by the trust in parking charges during the financial year 2011/12.
But £1,567,807 was spent on maintenance, rents and rates, security and capital charges.
Read the full story on parking charges in this week’s Gazette, on sale now. Let us know your views on the subject by emailing email@example.com