A hospital trust made £1.5 million in parking charges last year.

The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) received £1,011053 from patient and visitor charges, with a further £504,525 from staff who parked at its sites.

However, the figure of £1,515,578 for 2016/17 is down slightly on the previous year when it was £1,525,640.

The figures were collated by the Press Association under a Freedom of Information request, which revealed hospitals across England made a record £174m in 2016/17.

Julia Clarke, director of Corporate Governance at SaTH, said: “While we know that the issue of car parking charges is an emotive one, there is a misconception that all of the money collected goes to the company which manages the car parks. These figures show how much actually comes to the Trust to help pay for improvements in patient care. Our annual income from parking pays for the equivalent of about 40 staff nurses.

“Our hospitals were both built at a time when there were half the number of staff and half the number of expected visitors to them. Without a professionally managed car park management service the situation for people trying to park would undoubtedly be much worse.

“Our charges are still among the lowest in the country and we are also working hard to make alternatives to the car more attractive for both patients and our own staff.

“It is important to remember that people are able to park at our hospitals for up to 20 minutes without charge. The 20 minutes without charge is useful for people who could drop off and pick up patients without incurring any parking charges.

“Patients receiving dialysis, radiotherapy or chemotherapy and people visiting hospital for issues connected with bereavement are able to park for free. Patients on low income, who are in receipt of benefits, can also claim back the cost of their parking.”

Hospital parking in Scotland and Wales remains largely free, while the Orthopaedic Hospital in Gobowen were not included in the FOI request.