MPs are urging hospitals across the Midlands to cut the price of car parking, which at some trusts is as much as £2,000 per year for a space, in a report into NHS charges published today.
Good Hope Hospital, in Sutton Coldfield, was named in the Commons Health Committee report as one of the highest charging trusts in the country.
But other Midlands trusts - University Hospital Birmingham, Heart of England, and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals - make well over the average yearly income per space of £200.
The report, which will be presented to MPs later today, claims patients and visitors are being ripped off by "hidden charges" and slams the charging system as a "complete mess."
MPs said hospital car p arking fees should be scrapped for patients attend-ing on a daily basis and season tickets should be introduced for frequent visitors.
The report said: "While car parking charges must remain a matter for hospital trusts, we recommend that they provide reduced rates for patients and their visitors who attend regularly and free parking for those who must attend on a daily basis."
In 2004/05 hospitals charged £78 million for the use of their car parks, £63 million was paid by visitors and £15 million by their own hospital staff.
The Committee found great variation in the income generated by hospitals.
While the average parking space generated around £200, some provincial general hospitals made up to £2,000 per space - including Good Hope in Sutton Coldfield and Frimley Park in Surrey.
In 2004/05 University Hospital Birmingham was one of 12 trusts which broke the £1 million barrier in car park revenue, receiving £1.5 million in fees.
Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Heartlands and Solihull hospitals, budgeted to receive £1.3 million from its car parks, which have 682 spaces, in 2005/06.
Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust earned £995,000 from car park fees last year, with spaces at the Alexandra Hospital in Red-ditch effectively costing £450 per space.
The MPs report also criticised the cost of incoming calls to bedside telephones, which can be as much as 49p per minute, and stated there was no evidence that mobile phone signals interfered with medical technology.
It said: "It is an utter waste for these units, which could contribute significantly to the transfer of information within hospitals, to be used as little more than glorified telephones and televisions.
"If the NHS cannot make use of additional services in the near future, the Department should pay the difference in cost between the standard rate the amount charged by companies. Patients relatives and friends should not be penalised for the Depart-ment's failings."
Prescriptions, dentistry and eye test charges have developed without any "comprehensive, underlying principles", causing them to be "full of anomalies."